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Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase 'the next big thing', even if that means buying 'story stocks' without revenue, let alone profit. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.
So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like ShotSpotter (NASDAQ:SSTI). Even if the shares are fully valued today, most capitalists would recognize its profits as the demonstration of steady value generation. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.
How Fast Is ShotSpotter Growing Its Earnings Per Share?
In business, though not in life, profits are a key measure of success; and share prices tend to reflect earnings per share (EPS). So like a ray of sunshine through a gap in the clouds, improving EPS is considered a good sign. It is therefore awe-striking that ShotSpotter's EPS went from US$0.07 to US$0.24 in just one year. When you see earnings grow that quickly, it often means good things ahead for the company.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. The good news is that ShotSpotter is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 3.9 percentage points to 6.6%, over the last year. Ticking those two boxes is a good sign of growth, in my book.
You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. For finer detail, click on the image.
You don't drive with your eyes on the rear-view mirror, so you might be more interested in this free report showing analyst forecasts for ShotSpotter's future profits.
Are ShotSpotter Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. So it is good to see that ShotSpotter insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. With a whopping US$75m worth of shares as a group, insiders have plenty riding on the company's success. That holding amounts to 20% of the stock on issue, thus making insiders influential, and aligned, owners of the business.
It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like ShotSpotter with market caps between US$200m and US$800m is about US$1.8m.
The ShotSpotter CEO received US$1.1m in compensation for the year ending . That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of good governance, more generally.
Does ShotSpotter Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
ShotSpotter's earnings have taken off like any random crypto-currency did, back in 2017. The cherry on top is that insiders own a bucket-load of shares, and the CEO pay seems really quite reasonable. The strong EPS improvement suggests the businesses is humming along. ShotSpotter certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. However, before you get too excited we've discovered 1 warning sign for ShotSpotter that you should be aware of.
Although ShotSpotter 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.
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