It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Arch Capital Group (NASDAQ:ACGL). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
How Fast Is Arch Capital Group Growing?
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. It certainly is nice to see that Arch Capital Group has managed to grow EPS by 25% per year over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. Not all of Arch Capital Group's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I've used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. To cut to the chase Arch Capital Group's EBIT margins dropped last year, and so did its revenue. That will not make it easy to grow profits, to say the least.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Arch Capital Group's forecast profits?
Are Arch Capital Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Like that fresh smell in the air when the rains are coming, insider buying fills me with optimistic anticipation. This view is based on the possibility that stock purchases signal bullishness on behalf of the buyer. However, insiders are sometimes wrong, and we don't know the exact thinking behind their acquisitions.
We did see some selling in the last twelve months, but that's insignificant compared to the whopping US$20m that the Independent Chairman of the Board, John Pasquesi spent acquiring shares. We should note the average purchase price was around US$41.23. The quantum of that insider purchase is both rare and a sight to behold, not unlike an endangered Amur Leopard in the wild.
Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for Arch Capital Group is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$556m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders' interests when making decisions!
While insiders already own a significant amount of shares, and they have been buying more, the good news for ordinary shareholders does not stop there. That's because on our analysis the CEO, Marc Grandisson, is paid less than the median for similar sized companies. For companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, like Arch Capital Group, the median CEO pay is around US$14m.
The Arch Capital Group CEO received US$9.3m in compensation for the year ending . That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.
Should You Add Arch Capital Group To Your Watchlist?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Arch Capital Group's strong EPS growth. The cranberry sauce on the turkey is that insiders own a bunch of shares, and one has been buying more. So it's fair to say I think this stock may well deserve a spot on your watchlist. You should always think about risks though. Case in point, we've spotted 1 warning sign for Arch Capital Group you should be aware of.
As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But Arch Capital Group isn't the only one. You can see a a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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