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. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Martin Marietta Materials (NYSE:MLM). 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.
Martin Marietta Materials's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.
If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Over the last three years, Martin Marietta Materials has grown EPS by 4.1% per year. While that sort of growth rate isn't amazing, it does show the business is growing.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. This approach makes Martin Marietta Materials look pretty good, on balance; although revenue is flattish, EBIT margins improved from 20% to 22% in the last year. That's a real positive.
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.
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 Martin Marietta Materials?
Are Martin Marietta Materials Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$22b company like Martin Marietta Materials. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$123m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.
Does Martin Marietta Materials Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
As I already mentioned, Martin Marietta Materials is a growing business, which is what I like to see. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. We don't want to rain on the parade too much, but we did also find 1 warning sign for Martin Marietta Materials that you need to be mindful of.
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.
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. 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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