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 currently lacks a track record of revenue and profit. But the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses. Loss making companies can act like a sponge for capital - so investors should be cautious that they're not throwing good money after bad.
In contrast to all that, many investors prefer to focus on companies like Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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.
See our latest analysis for Union Pacific
How Quickly Is Union Pacific Increasing Earnings Per Share?
If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS) outcomes. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. We can see that in the last three years Union Pacific grew its EPS by 9.7% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.
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. Not all of Union Pacific's revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers used in this article might not be the best representation of the underlying business. The good news is that Union Pacific is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 3.1 percentage points to 43%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in our book.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. 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 Union Pacific.
Are Union Pacific Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Owing to the size of Union Pacific, 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. We note that their impressive stake in the company is worth US$200m. We note that this amounts to 0.2% of the company, which may be small owing to the sheer size of Union Pacific but it's still worth mentioning. This still shows shareholders there is a degree of alignment between management and themselves.
Is Union Pacific Worth Keeping An Eye On?
One important encouraging feature of Union Pacific is that it is growing profits. For those who are looking for a little more than this, the high level of insider ownership enhances our enthusiasm for this growth. That combination is very appealing. So yes, we do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Still, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Union Pacific.
Although Union Pacific certainly looks good, it may appeal to more investors if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, 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.
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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.