I Ran A Stock Scan For Earnings Growth And Flex (NASDAQ:FLEX) Passed With Ease

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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 as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, ‘Long shots almost never pay off.’

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Flex (NASDAQ:FLEX), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Now, I’m not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can’t shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital – but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

Check out our latest analysis for Flex

Flex’s Improving Profits

Over the last three years, Flex has grown earnings per share (EPS) like young bamboo after rain; fast, and from a low base. So I don’t think the percent growth rate is particularly meaningful. As a result, I’ll zoom in on growth over the last year, instead. Like the last firework on New Year’s Eve accelerating into the sky, Flex’s EPS shot from US$0.84 to US$2.17, over the last year. Year on year growth of 158% is certainly a sight to behold.

I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). Flex maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 9.1% to US$25b. That’s progress.

The chart below shows how the company’s bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-history

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 Flex.

Are Flex Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since Flex has a market capitalization of US$7.7b, 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 hold US$43m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that’s only about 0.6% of the company, it’s enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

Should You Add Flex To Your Watchlist?

Flex’s earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. That EPS growth certainly has my attention, and the large insider ownership only serves to further stoke my interest. At times fast EPS growth is a sign the business has reached an inflection point; and I do like those. So to my mind Flex is worth putting on your watchlist; after all, shareholders do well when the market underestimates fast growing companies. We don’t want to rain on the parade too much, but we did also find 3 warning signs for Flex (2 can’t be ignored!) that you need to be mindful of.

Although Flex 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.

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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.