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Is Now The Time To Put Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) On Your Watchlist?

Simply Wall St

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 Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Exponent ( NASDAQ:EXPO ). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. 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 Exponent

Exponent's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Impressively, Exponent has grown EPS by 18% per year, compound, in the last three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we'd expect shareholders to come away winners.

Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. While we note Exponent's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 6.4% to US$368m. That's a real positive.

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.

NasdaqGS:EXPO Income Statement, August 26th 2019

While we live in the present moment at all times, there's no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Exponent ?

Are Exponent Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. So it is good to see that Exponent insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. With a whopping US$51m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That's certainly enough to make me think that management will be very focussed on long term growth.

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. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Exponent with market caps between US$2.0b and US$6.4b is about US$5.2m.

The CEO of Exponent only received US$2.1m in total compensation for the year ending December 2018. That's clearly well below average, so at a glance, that arrangement seems generous to shareholders, and points to a modest remuneration culture. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.

Should You Add Exponent To Your Watchlist?

For growth investors like me, Exponent's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. If that's not enough, consider also that the CEO pay is quite reasonable, and insiders are well-invested alongside other shareholders. Each to their own, but I think all this makes Exponent look rather interesting indeed. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Exponent by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry .

Although Exponent 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

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com . This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.