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. 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.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST). While that doesn’t make the shares worth buying at any price, you can’t deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
See our latest analysis for Costco Wholesale
How Quickly Is Costco Wholesale Increasing Earnings Per Share?
As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). It’s no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. We can see that in the last three years Costco Wholesale grew its EPS by 17% per year. That’s a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.
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. While we note Costco Wholesale’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 18% to US$196b. That’s a real positive.
You can take a look at the company’s revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. For finer detail, click on the image.
In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Costco Wholesale’s forecast profits?
Are Costco Wholesale Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$228b company like Costco Wholesale. 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$544m. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders’ interests when making decisions!
It’s good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, like Costco Wholesale, the median CEO pay is around US$11m.
The Costco Wholesale CEO received US$8.3m in compensation for the year ending . That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. While the level of CEO compensation isn’t a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Does Costco Wholesale Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
As I already mentioned, Costco Wholesale is a growing business, which is what I like to see. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Costco Wholesale, but the pretty picture gets better than that. With a meaningful level of insider ownership, and reasonable CEO pay, a reasonable mind might conclude that this is one stock worth watching. However, before you get too excited we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for Costco Wholesale that you should be aware of.
You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.
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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