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Here's Why We Think Jefferies Financial Group (NYSE:JEF) Is Well Worth Watching

Simply Wall St

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. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.

So if you're like me, you might be more interested in profitable, growing companies, like Jefferies Financial Group (NYSE:JEF). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital - but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

View our latest analysis for Jefferies Financial Group

How Fast Is Jefferies Financial Group Growing?

If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. Over the last three years, Jefferies Financial Group has grown EPS by 4.2% per year. While that sort of growth rate isn't amazing, it does show the business is growing.

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. Not all of Jefferies Financial Group'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. On the one hand, Jefferies Financial Group's EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So it seems the future my hold further growth, especially if EBIT margins can stabilize.

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:JEF Income Statement, December 4th 2019

Fortunately, we've got access to analyst forecasts of Jefferies Financial Group's future profits. You can do your own forecasts without looking, or you can take a peek at what the professionals are predicting.

Are Jefferies Financial Group Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

Since Jefferies Financial Group has a market capitalization of US$6.2b, we wouldn't expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$1.0b. Coming in at 17% of the business, that holding gives insiders a lot of influence, and plenty of reason to generate value for shareholders. So it might be my imagination, but I do sense the glimmer of an opportunity.

Is Jefferies Financial Group Worth Keeping An Eye On?

One important encouraging feature of Jefferies Financial Group is that it is growing profits. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. That combination appeals to me, for one. So yes, I do think the stock is worth keeping an eye on. Of course, just because Jefferies Financial Group is growing does not mean it is undervalued. If you're wondering about the valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Although Jefferies Financial Group 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

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.

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