The Holy Grail for investors is to identify companies with potential to turn an early-stage recovery story into a multi-month earnings upgrade cycle, so forcing analysts to repeatedly upgrade their earnings estimates. In turn, investors have a habit of paying a higher price for a slice of the action so you can benefit from earnings multiple expansion, too. It therefore pays to know the precise profit drivers to look out for, I certainly do having dedicated several chapters and case studies to this very subject in both of my books.
Areas of interest include a company’s position within its market and whether industry demand (both cyclical and structural) is creating a tailwind to ride off. Understanding operational leverage is important to ascertain the extent to which profits can accelerate as revenue ratchets up. I also take a close look at cash generation and working capital management to identify enterprises that recycle operating cash flow back into their businesses either through organic investment or bolt-on acquisitions to create shareholder value.
It certainly pays to embrace technological change and keep an eye on macroeconomic and political factors that may impact performance. Many of these dynamics are at play with the five companies I highlight below. It’s no coincidence that they have all just posted earnings beats.