The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. Sometimes these stories can cloud the minds of investors, leading them to invest with their emotions rather than on the merit of good company fundamentals. Loss making companies can act like a sponge for capital - so investors should be cautious that they're not throwing good money after bad.
If this kind of company isn't your style, you like companies that generate revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in AutoZone (NYSE:AZO). Now this is not to say that the company presents the best investment opportunity around, but profitability is a key component to success in business.
AutoZone'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 you'd expect share price to follow earnings per share (EPS) outcomes eventually. So it makes sense that experienced investors pay close attention to company EPS when undertaking investment research. Impressively, AutoZone has grown EPS by 24% per year, compound, in the last three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be beaming.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. EBIT margins for AutoZone remained fairly unchanged over the last year, however the company should be pleased to report its revenue growth for the period of 7.4% to US$17b. That's a real positive.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for AutoZone.
Are AutoZone Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Owing to the size of AutoZone, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a significant proportion of the company. But thanks to their investment in the company, it's pleasing to see that there are still incentives to align their actions with the shareholders. Indeed, they have a considerable amount of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$105m. This comes in at 0.2% of shares in the company, which is a fair amount of a business of this size. This still shows shareholders there is a degree of alignment between management and themselves.
Does AutoZone Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
If you believe that share price follows earnings per share you should definitely be delving further into AutoZone's strong EPS growth. With EPS growth rates like that, it's hardly surprising to see company higher-ups place confidence in the company through continuing to hold a significant investment. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research, so it would seem that it's a good stock to follow. Still, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we've spotted with AutoZone (including 1 which is a bit concerning).
There's always the possibility of doing well buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But for those who consider these important metrics, we encourage you 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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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.