Has QEP Resources Inc (QEP) Become the Perfect Stock?

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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 and then decide whether QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP) fits the bill.

QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP)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.
  • Moneymaking 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 QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP).

Factor What We Want to See Actual Pass or Fail?
Growth 5-year annual revenue growth > 15% 5% Fail
1-year revenue growth > 12% (25.6%) Fail
Margins Gross margin > 35% 50.3% Pass
Net margin > 15% 5.5% Fail
Balance sheet Debt to equity < 50% 97% Fail
Current ratio > 1.3 0.85 Fail
Opportunities Return on equity > 15% 4% Fail
Valuation Normalized P/E < 20 26.89 Fail
Dividends Current yield > 2% 0.3% Fail
5-year dividend growth > 10% NM NM
Total score 1 out of 9

Source: S&P Capital IQ. NM = not meaningful; QEP started paying a dividend in August 2010. Total score = number of passes.

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