Do Federal Signal’s (NYSE:FSS) Earnings Warrant Your Attention?

For beginners, it can seem like a good idea (and an exciting prospect) to buy a company that tells a good story to investors, even if it completely lacks a track record of revenue and profit. 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.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Federal Signal (NYSE:FSS). While that doesn’t make the shares worth buying at any price, you can’t deny that successful capitalism requires profit, eventually. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital – but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.

Check out our latest analysis for Federal Signal

Federal Signal’s Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

If a company can keep growing earnings per share (EPS) long enough, its share price will eventually follow. It’s no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. As a tree reaches steadily for the sky, Federal Signal’s EPS has grown 26% each year, compound, over three years. If the company can sustain that sort of growth, we’d expect shareholders to come away winners.

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. Federal Signal maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 11% to US$1.1b. That’s a real positive.

NYSE:FSS Income Statement, September 15th 2019
NYSE:FSS Income Statement, September 15th 2019

While we live in the present moment at all times, there’s no doubt in my mind that the future matters more than the past. So why not check this interactive chart depicting future EPS estimates, for Federal Signal?

Are Federal Signal Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

It makes me feel more secure owning shares in a company if insiders also own shares, thusly more closely aligning our interests. So it is good to see that Federal Signal insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Indeed, they hold US$41m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Even though that’s only about 2.0% of the company, it’s enough money to indicate alignment between the leaders of the business and ordinary shareholders.

Should You Add Federal Signal To Your Watchlist?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Federal Signal’s strong EPS growth. Further, the high level of insider buying impresses me, and suggests that I’m not the only one who appreciates the EPS growth. Fast growth and confident insiders should be enough to warrant further research. So the answer is that I do think this is a good stock to follow along with. 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 Federal Signal.

Although Federal Signal 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

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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.