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 Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A). 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.
How Fast Is Agilent Technologies Growing?
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that Agilent Technologies has grown EPS by 52% per year, over the last three years. While that sort of growth rate isn't sustainable for long, it certainly catches my attention; like a crow with a sparkly stone.
I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. Agilent Technologies shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 19% to 22%, and revenue is growing. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
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.
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 Agilent Technologies.
Are Agilent Technologies Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Agilent Technologies has a market capitalization of US$46b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$128m. 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.
Should You Add Agilent Technologies To Your Watchlist?
Agilent Technologies's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. That sort of growth is nothing short of eye-catching, and the large investment held by insiders certainly brightens my view of the company. The hope is, of course, that the strong growth marks a fundamental improvement in the business economics. So to my mind Agilent Technologies is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. Don't forget that there may still be risks. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for Agilent Technologies that you should be aware of.
Although Agilent Technologies certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.
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.
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