U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 15 mins

Do Federal Signal's (NYSE:FSS) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

Simply Wall St

Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. But as Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, 'Long shots almost never pay off.'

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Federal Signal (NYSE:FSS). While that doesn't make the shares worth buying at any price, you can't deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

See our latest analysis for Federal Signal

How Fast Is Federal Signal Growing?

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). Therefore, there are plenty of investors who like to buy shares in companies that are growing EPS. Impressively, Federal Signal has grown EPS by 18% per year, compound, in the last three years. As a general rule, we'd say that if a company can keep up that sort of growth, shareholders will be smiling.

I like to take a look at earnings before interest and (EBIT) tax margins, as well as revenue growth, to get another take on the quality of the company's growth. The good news is that Federal Signal is growing revenues, and EBIT margins improved by 2.9 percentage points to 12%, 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. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

NYSE:FSS Income Statement, May 21st 2019

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Federal Signal's forecast profits?

Are Federal Signal 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. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own Federal Signal shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$31m worth of its stock. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that's only about 2.1% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

Is Federal Signal Worth Keeping An Eye On?

For growth investors like me, Federal Signal's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. Further, the high level of insider buying 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. Now, you could try to make up your mind on Federal Signal by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

You can invest in any company you want. But if you prefer to focus on stocks that have demonstrated insider buying, here is a list of companies with insider buying in the last three months.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.