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Should You Be Adding NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) To Your Watchlist Today?

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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 the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. 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 NetApp

NetApp's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that NetApp has grown EPS by 55% per year, over the last three years. That sort of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star it is well worth watching when it happens.

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. NetApp maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 7.7% to US$5.9b. That's progress.

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.

earnings-and-revenue-history
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 NetApp.

Are NetApp Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Like the kids in the streets standing up for their beliefs, insider share purchases give me reason to believe in a brighter future. That's because insider buying often indicates that those closest to the company have confidence that the share price will perform well. However, small purchases are not always indicative of conviction, and insiders don't always get it right.

Although we did see some insider selling (worth -US$166k) this was overshadowed by a mountain of buying, totalling US$1.5m in just one year. I find this encouraging because it suggests they are optimistic about the NetApp's future. It is also worth noting that it was Executive VP & CFO Michael Berry who made the biggest single purchase, worth US$958k, paying US$63.89 per share.

Along with the insider buying, another encouraging sign for NetApp is that insiders, as a group, have a considerable shareholding. With a whopping US$57m 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.

Does NetApp Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

NetApp's earnings per share have taken off like a rocket aimed right at the moon. Just as heartening; insiders both own and are buying more stock. This quick rundown suggests that the business may be of good quality, and also at an inflection point, so maybe NetApp deserves timely attention. We should say that we've discovered 3 warning signs for NetApp that you should be aware of before investing here.

As a growth investor I do like to see insider buying. But NetApp isn't the only one. You can see a a free list of them here.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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