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Do SThree's (LON:STEM) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

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Simply Wall St
·3 min read
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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.'

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in SThree (LON:STEM). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.

Check out our latest analysis for SThree

How Fast Is SThree Growing?

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. That means EPS growth is considered a real positive by most successful long-term investors. We can see that in the last three years SThree grew its EPS by 14% per year. That's a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.

I like to see top-line growth as an indication that growth is sustainable, and I look for a high earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margin to point to a competitive moat (though some companies with low margins also have moats). While we note SThree's EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 6.9% to UK£1.3b. That's progress.

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.

LSE:STEM Income Statement, February 18th 2020
LSE:STEM Income Statement, February 18th 2020

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

Are SThree 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 SThree insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. To be specific, they have UK£20m worth of shares. That's a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Even though that's only about 4.3% of the company, it's enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

Should You Add SThree To Your Watchlist?

One important encouraging feature of SThree is that it is growing profits. If that's not enough on its own, there is also the rather notable levels of insider ownership. The combination sparks joy for me, so I'd consider keeping the company on a watchlist. Now, you could try to make up your mind on SThree by focusing on just these factors, or you could also consider how its price-to-earnings ratio compares to other companies in its industry.

Although SThree 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.