Every investor would love to stumble upon the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that provides everything you could possibly want?
One thing's for sure: You'll never discover truly great investments unless you actively look for them. Let's discuss the ideal qualities of a perfect stock, then decide if Embraer
The quest for perfection
Stocks that look great based on one factor may prove horrible elsewhere, making due diligence a crucial part of your investing research. The best stocks excel in many different areas, including these important factors:
- Growth. Expanding businesses show healthy revenue growth. While past growth is no guarantee that revenue will keep rising, it's certainly a better sign than a stagnant top line.
- Margins. Higher sales mean nothing if a company can't produce profits from them. Strong margins ensure that company can turn revenue into profit.
- Balance sheet. At debt-laden companies, banks and bondholders compete with shareholders for management's attention. Companies with strong balance sheets don't have to worry about the distraction of debt.
- Money-making opportunities. Return on equity helps measure how well a company is finding opportunities to turn its resources into profitable business endeavors.
- Valuation. You can't afford to pay too much for even the best companies. By using normalized figures, you can see how a stock's simple earnings multiple fits into a longer-term context.
- Dividends. For tangible proof of profits, a check to shareholders every three months can't be beat. Companies with solid dividends and strong commitments to increasing payouts treat shareholders well.
With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Embraer.
What We Want to See
Pass or Fail?
|Growth||5-Year Annual Revenue Growth > 15%||0.5%||Fail|
|1-Year Revenue Growth > 12%||1%||Fail|
|Margins||Gross Margin > 35%||20.3%||Fail|
|Net Margin > 15%||8%||Fail|
|Balance Sheet||Debt to Equity < 50%||67.1%||Fail|
|Current Ratio > 1.3||1.90||Pass|
|Opportunities||Return on Equity > 15%||15.1%||Pass|
|Valuation||Normalized P/E < 20||17.68||Pass|
|Dividends||Current Yield > 2%||2.4%||Pass|
|5-Year Dividend Growth > 10%||(6.3%)||Fail|
|Total Score||4 out of 10|
Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Total score = number of passes.
With just four points, Embraer isn't flying high right now. But the Brazilian company is poised to benefit from its home country's economic boom and also is making inroads around the world.
For years, two companies dominated the aerospace industry: Boeing
Unfortunately, the company hasn't managed to penetrate the U.S. commercial market as much as it could. Southwest
Another concern for shareholders is the fact that Embraer lowered its guidance for 2011 earlier this year. With concerns that the Brazilian economy may be growing faster than is sustainable, the defense business that Embraer has gotten from the Brazilian government could dry up. At the same time, though, positive long-term prospects from the Latin American giant should bolster Embraer in the long run.
Embraer may not have reached its cruising altitude, but it has good potential. For a promising emerging-market investment, Embraer could get a lot closer to perfection in the years ahead.
No stock is a sure thing, but some stocks are a lot closer to perfect than others. By looking for the perfect stock, you'll go a long way toward improving your investing prowess and learning how to separate out the best investments from the rest.
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Finding the perfect stock is only one piece of a successful investment strategy. Get the big picture by taking a look at our "13 Steps to Investing Foolishly."