I Ran A Stock Scan For Earnings Growth And Fulton Financial (NASDAQ:FULT) Passed With Ease

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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 Peter Lynch said in One Up On Wall Street, ‘Long shots almost never pay off.’

In the age of tech-stock blue-sky investing, my choice may seem old fashioned; I still prefer profitable companies like Fulton Financial (NASDAQ:FULT). 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 Fulton Financial

How Fast Is Fulton Financial 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. We can see that in the last three years Fulton Financial grew its EPS by 14% per year. That’s a good rate of growth, if it can be sustained.

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 Fulton Financial’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. While we note Fulton Financial’s EBIT margins were flat over the last year, revenue grew by a solid 22% to US$938m. That’s a real positive.

In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.

earnings-and-revenue-history

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 Fulton Financial’s future profits.

Are Fulton Financial 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 Fulton Financial insiders have a significant amount of capital invested in the stock. Indeed, they hold US$28m worth of its stock. That’s a lot of money, and no small incentive to work hard. Despite being just 1.0% of the company, the value of that investment is enough to show insiders have plenty riding on the venture.

It’s good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$2.0b and US$6.4b, like Fulton Financial, the median CEO pay is around US$5.1m.

Fulton Financial offered total compensation worth US$3.1m to its CEO in the year to . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. While the level of CEO compensation isn’t a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.

Should You Add Fulton Financial To Your Watchlist?

One positive for Fulton Financial is that it is growing EPS. That’s nice to see. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for Fulton Financial, but the pretty picture gets better than that. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I’d argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. We should say that we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for Fulton Financial (1 can’t be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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