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Here's Why We Think Littelfuse (NASDAQ:LFUS) Is Well Worth Watching

Simply Wall St

It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. But as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.

In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like Littelfuse (NASDAQ:LFUS), which has not only revenues, but also profits. 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. 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.

View our latest analysis for Littelfuse

How Fast Is Littelfuse 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. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Littelfuse's EPS has grown 24% each year, compound, over 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. On the one hand, Littelfuse'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.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. Click on the chart to see the exact numbers.

NasdaqGS:LFUS Income Statement, September 30th 2019

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 Littelfuse's future profits.

Are Littelfuse Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

I like company leaders to have some skin in the game, so to speak, because it increases alignment of incentives between the people running the business, and its true owners. So it is good to see that Littelfuse insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$111m. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.

Does Littelfuse Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

For growth investors like me, Littelfuse's raw rate of earnings growth is a beacon in the night. I think that EPS growth is something to boast of, and it doesn't surprise me that insiders are holding on to a considerable chunk of shares. So this is very likely the kind of business that I like to spend time researching, with a view to discerning its true value. Of course, just because Littelfuse 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 Littelfuse 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

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.