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Here's Why We Think HMN Financial (NASDAQ:HMNF) Is Well Worth Watching

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Simply Wall St
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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. But the reality is that when a company loses money each year, for long enough, its investors will usually take their share of those losses.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like HMN Financial (NASDAQ:HMNF), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

See our latest analysis for HMN Financial

HMN Financial's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

As one of my mentors once told me, share price follows earnings per share (EPS). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Over the last three years, HMN Financial has grown EPS by 12% per year. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.

Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. I note that HMN Financial's revenue from operations was lower than its revenue in the last twelve months, so that could distort my analysis of its margins. While we note HMN Financial's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 7.8% to US$38m. That's progress.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

NasdaqGM:HMNF Income Statement, January 13th 2020
NasdaqGM:HMNF Income Statement, January 13th 2020

Since HMN Financial is no giant, with a market capitalization of US$97m, so you should definitely check its cash and debt before getting too excited about its prospects.

Are HMN Financial Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

I always like to check up on CEO compensation, because I think that reasonable pay levels, around or below the median, can be a sign that shareholder interests are well considered. For companies with market capitalizations under US$200m, like HMN Financial, the median CEO pay is around US$523k.

The HMN Financial CEO received US$449k in compensation for the year ending December 2018. 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 a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Should You Add HMN Financial To Your Watchlist?

One positive for HMN Financial is that it is growing EPS. That's nice to see. Not only that, but the CEO is paid quite reasonably, which makes me feel more trusting of the board of directors. So all in all I think it's worth at least considering for your watchlist. Of course, identifying quality businesses is only half the battle; investors need to know whether the stock is undervalued. So you might want to consider this free discounted cashflow valuation of HMN Financial.

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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.