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.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.
PPG Industries's Improving Profits
Even modest earnings per share growth (EPS) can create meaningful value, when it is sustained reliably from year to year. So EPS growth can certainly encourage an investor to take note of a stock. Like a wedge-tailed eagle on the wind, PPG Industries's EPS soared from US$4.46 to US$6.01, in just one year. That's a impressive gain of 35%.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). PPG Industries maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 21% to US$17b. That's progress.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for PPG Industries?
Are PPG Industries Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$30b company like PPG Industries. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Indeed, they hold US$49m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 0.2% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.
Does PPG Industries Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
For growth investors like me, PPG Industries's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. I think that EPS growth is something to boast of, and it doesn't surprise me that insiders are holding on to a considerable chunk of shares. So this is very likely the kind of business that I like to spend time researching, with a view to discerning its true value. We should say that we've discovered 2 warning signs for PPG Industries that you should be aware of before investing here.
You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
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.