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Here's Why We Think Heritage Financial (NASDAQ:HFWA) Is Well Worth Watching

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·4 min read
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The excitement of investing in a company that can reverse its fortunes is a big draw for some speculators, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can manage to find investors. Sometimes these stories can cloud the minds of investors, leading them to invest with their emotions rather than on the merit of good company fundamentals. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else investors will move on and the company will wither away.

If this kind of company isn't your style, you like companies that generate revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Heritage Financial (NASDAQ:HFWA). Even if this company is fairly valued by the market, investors would agree that generating consistent profits will continue to provide Heritage Financial with the means to add long-term value to shareholders.

View our latest analysis for Heritage Financial

How Quickly Is Heritage Financial Increasing Earnings Per Share?

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so you'd expect share price to follow earnings per share (EPS) outcomes eventually. So it makes sense that experienced investors pay close attention to company EPS when undertaking investment research. We can see that in the last three years Heritage Financial grew its EPS by 16% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.

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. Our analysis has highlighted that Heritage Financial's revenue from operations did not account for all of their revenue in the previous 12 months, so our analysis of its margins might not accurately reflect the underlying business. While we note Heritage Financial achieved similar EBIT margins to last year, revenue grew by a solid 20% to US$260m. That's progress.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings and revenue, over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

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 Heritage Financial.

Are Heritage Financial Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

It should give investors a sense of security owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, creating a close alignment their interests. Heritage Financial followers will find comfort in knowing that insiders have a significant amount of capital that aligns their best interests with the wider shareholder group. To be specific, they have US$17m worth of shares. This considerable investment should help drive long-term value in the business. While their ownership only accounts for 1.8%, this is still a considerable amount at stake to encourage the business to maintain a strategy that will deliver value to shareholders.

It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but shareholders may be wondering if remuneration policies are in their best interest. Our quick analysis into CEO remuneration would seem to indicate they are. For companies with market capitalisations between US$400m and US$1.6b, like Heritage Financial, the median CEO pay is around US$4.1m.

The Heritage Financial CEO received total compensation of just US$1.4m in the year to December 2021. First impressions seem to indicate a compensation policy that is favourable to shareholders. 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 a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Does Heritage Financial Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

One positive for Heritage Financial is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Heritage Financial, but the pleasant picture gets better than that. With company insiders aligning themselves considerably with the company's success and modest CEO compensation, there's no arguments that this is a stock worth looking into. Even so, be aware that Heritage Financial is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...

There's always the possibility of doing well buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But for those who consider these important metrics, we encourage you to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.

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

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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