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For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, ‘Long shots almost never pay off.’
In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like First Western Financial (NASDAQ:MYFW). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital – but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
How Fast Is First Western Financial Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
Even modest earnings per share growth (EPS) can create meaningful value, when it is sustained reliably from year to year. So EPS growth can certainly encourage an investor to take note of a stock. Like a falcon taking flight, First Western Financial’s EPS soared from US$0.73 to US$0.98, over the last year. That’s a impressive gain of 34%.
I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). Not all of First Western Financial’s revenue this year is revenue from operations, so keep in mind the revenue and margin numbers I’ve used might not be the best representation of the underlying business. First Western Financial maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 13% to US$65m. That’s a real positive.
You can take a look at the company’s revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.
Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for First Western Financial.
Are First Western Financial Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. As a result, I’m encouraged by the fact that insiders own First Western Financial shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$20m worth of its stock. That’s a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. That amounts to 17% of the company, demonstrating a degree of high-level alignment with shareholders.
Is First Western Financial Worth Keeping An Eye On?
Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about First Western Financial’s strong EPS growth. Further, the high level of insider ownership impresses me, and suggests that I’m not the only one who appreciates the EPS growth. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research. So the answer is that I do think this is a good stock to follow along with. What about risks? Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 1 warning sign for First Western Financial you should know about.
Although First Western Financial certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.