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 Take-Two Interactive
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 Take-Two Interactive.
What We Want to See
Pass or Fail?
|Growth||5-Year Annual Revenue Growth > 15%||(1.6%)||Fail|
|1-Year Revenue Growth > 12%||(17.4%)||Fail|
|Margins||Gross Margin > 35%||37.9%||Pass|
|Net Margin > 15%||(3.9%)||Fail|
|Balance Sheet||Debt to Equity < 50%||19.7%||Pass|
|Current Ratio > 1.3||2.32||Pass|
|Opportunities||Return on Equity > 15%||(6.6%)||Fail|
|Valuation||Normalized P/E < 20||NM||NM|
|Dividends||Current Yield > 2%||0%||Fail|
|5-Year Dividend Growth > 10%||0%||Fail|
|Total Score||3 out of 9|
Source: S&P Capital IQ. NM = not meaningful due to negative earnings. Total score = number of passes.
With only three points, Take-Two Interactive isn't making the top-score list. The video game industry has been a tough place for investors lately, but with a potential turnaround coming, Take-Two could see its shares bounce back.
Video games have evolved quite a bit in recent years. With the advent of web-based games from companies like Zynga
For its part, Take-Two has its Grand Theft Auto V coming out at some point, but a November trailer that Take-Two put out for the game didn't reveal a release date. The previous version of the game, which came out in 2008, produced record-breaking performance at the time. Now, though, the company has diversified beyond the GTA franchise.
Going forward, it's unclear how Take-Two will best be able to navigate the trends toward cheaper social-based games. To reach toward perfection, though, it will have to reverse recent sales declines and claw itself back toward profitability.
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 the best investments from the rest.
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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Take-Two and has written calls on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Take-Two and Activision Blizzard, as well as creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.