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. 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.
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it’s easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital – but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
View our latest analysis for Netflix
How Fast Is Netflix Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
In the last three years Netflix‘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. Like a wedge-tailed eagle on the wind, Netflix‘s EPS soared from US$6.11 to US$9.92, in just one year. That’s a impressive gain of 63%.
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. The good news is that Netflix is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 5.4 percentage points to 22%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
The chart below shows how the company’s bottom and top lines have progressed over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
Fortunately, we’ve got access to analyst forecasts of Netflix‘s future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.
Are Netflix Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since Netflix has a market capitalization of US$261b, we wouldn’t expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$3.3b. 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.
Is Netflix Worth Keeping An Eye On?
For growth investors like me, Netflix‘s raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. I think that EPS growth is something to boast of, and it doesn’t surprise me that insiders are holding on to a considerable chunk of shares. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research. So the answer is that I do think this is a good stock to follow along with. It’s still necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We’ve identified 1 warning sign with Netflix , and understanding this should be part of your investment process.
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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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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