The market didn't much care for Bankrate's
The top line is actually healthier than that. The company is weighed down by its low-margin -- and thankfully fading -- print publishing business. Bankrate's online revenue, which now accounts for 87% of total revenue, rose 31% during the period.
When you're the definitive source of current rates for more than 300 financial products, thousands of institutions want to be your pal, hankering to get their grubby little hands on your precious leads. Bankrate also sells graphical ads throughout its site, and banks and other financial services providers pay to have their name hyperlinked on Bankrate's list, just one click away from the heavily trafficked site.
Subprime fears? Soft housing market? Bankrate has weathered the storm just fine, growing its page views by 17% over the past year. Stack that up against the 31% boost in online advertising, and you'll find that the company is milking more out of every page view, as desperate financial institutions shell out for quality referrals.
Because Bankrate's online workhorse is powered by thick margins, earnings more than doubled to $0.28 per share during the period. Back out stock-based compensation, and earnings would have surged 48%, to $0.34 per share. Bankrate's got a golden niche -- like The Knot
Many rival companies attempting to drum up financial leads are struggling. IAC/InterActiveCorp's
However, just as LoopNet
The stock may not be cheap at 25 times this year's profit projections, but it's growing quickly enough online to justify the market premium. So keep an eye on Bankrate, and consider any dips as potential entry points. Its shares may be volatile, but its financial performance is consistent and healthy.
Bankrate, LoopNet, and The Knot are active recommendations in the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service for high-octane growth stock investing. LoopNet has also made the cut in Hidden Gems. If these kinds of stocks excite you, check out either service free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been known to chase yields on the Bankrate.com site from time. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy is highly rated.