For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. But as Warren Buffett has mused, ‘If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.’ When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
Match Group’s Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Match Group’s EPS has grown 32% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we’d expect shareholders to come away winners.
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). The good news is that Match Group is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 5.5 percentage points to 32%, over the last year. That’s great to see, on both counts.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. 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 Match Group’s forecast profits?.
Are Match Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$16b company like Match Group. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. With a whopping US$94m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company’s success. That’s certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.
Does Match Group Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
You can’t deny that Match Group has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That’s attractive. Further, the high level of insider buying impresses me, and suggest that I’m not the only one who appreciates the EPS growth. So this is very likely the kind of business that I like to spend time researching, with a view to discerning its true value. Once you’ve identified a business you like, the next step is to consider what you think it’s worth. And right now is your chance to view our exclusive discounted cashflow valuation of Match Group. You might benefit from giving it a glance today.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access 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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