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. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?’ Leuz et. al. found that it is ‘quite common’ for investors to lose money by buying into ‘pump and dump’ schemes.
So if you’re like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY). 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.
Etsy’s Improving Profits
In the last three years Etsy’s earnings per share took off like a rocket; fast, and from a low base. So the actual rate of growth doesn’t tell us much. As a result, I’ll zoom in on growth over the last year, instead. It’s good to see that Etsy’s EPS have grown from US$0.64 to US$0.80 over twelve months. I doubt many would complain about that 24% gain.
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). While Etsy did well to grow revenue over the last year, EBIT margins were dampened at the same time. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.
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.
You don’t drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for Etsy’s future profits.
Are Etsy Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$7.8b company like Etsy. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. With a whopping US$68m 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.
It’s good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$4.0b and US$12b, like Etsy, the median CEO pay is around US$7.6m.
The Etsy CEO received total compensation of just US$1.1m in the year to . That’s clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. 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.
Does Etsy Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
One important encouraging feature of Etsy is that it is growing profits. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Etsy, but the pretty picture gets better than that. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I’d argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. You should always think about risks though. Case in point, we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Etsy you should be aware of.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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