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 Rofin-Sinar Technologies (NAS: RSTI) fits the bill.
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 a 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 Rofin-Sinar Technologies.
What We Want to See
Pass or Fail?
5-Year Annual Revenue Growth > 15%
1-Year Revenue Growth > 12%
Gross Margin > 35%
Net Margin > 15%
Debt to Equity < 50%
Current Ratio > 1.3
Return on Equity > 15%
Normalized P/E < 20
Current Yield > 2%
5-Year Dividend Growth > 10%
4 out of 10
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Total score = number of passes.
Since we looked at Rofin-Sinar Technologies last year, the company has dropped a point, with revenue growth decelerating sharply. The stock has also gotten chopped up lately, with shares down nearly 30% over the past year.
Rofin-Sinar is a laser manufacturer that focuses on helping the auto industry with metal cutting and welding, as well as semiconductor marking and other fine micro-level applications in industries like solar and medical device technology. Based in Michigan, the company is well-located to serve the U.S. auto industry.
But Rofin-Sinar faces a couple of big challenges. Competition from Coherent (NAS: COHR) and Newport (NAS: NEWP) in certain niches of the market have prevented Rofin-Sinar from having free rein to capture new types of business. More importantly, Rofin-Sinar's carbon-based lasers have proven vulnerable to disruptive technology from IPG Photonics (NAS: IPGP) and its fiber-optic lasers, with Newport and JDS Uniphase (NAS: JDSU) seeking to get increasingly involved in the fiber-laser industry. As a result, IPG Photonics trades near a 52-week high, while Rofin-Sinar and its standard-laser peers haven't been able to keep up.
For Rofin-Sinar to improve, it really needs to step up its game and find innovative ways to get more promising laser technology into its product offerings. Without it, the company could get left behind and stand little chance of ever becoming a perfect stock.
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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The article Has Rofin-Sinar Technologies Become the Perfect Stock? originally appeared on Fool.com.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of IPG Photonics and Rofin-Sinar Technologies. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend IPG Photonics and Rofin-Sinar Technologies. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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