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Should You Be Adding First Commonwealth Financial (NYSE:FCF) To Your Watchlist Today?

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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 contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like First Commonwealth Financial (NYSE:FCF), which has not only revenues, but also profits. While profit is not necessarily a social good, it's easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. Conversely, a loss-making company is yet to prove itself with profit, and eventually the sweet milk of external capital may run sour.

View our latest analysis for First Commonwealth Financial

First Commonwealth Financial's Earnings Per Share Are Growing.

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. Over the last three years, First Commonwealth Financial has grown EPS by 17% per year. That's a pretty good rate, if the company can sustain it.

One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. Not all of First Commonwealth 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. First Commonwealth Financial maintained stable EBIT margins over the last year, all while growing revenue 22% to US$374m. That's progress.

The chart below shows how the company's bottom and top lines have progressed over time. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-history
earnings-and-revenue-history

Of course the knack is to find stocks that have their best days in the future, not in the past. You could base your opinion on past performance, of course, but you may also want to check this interactive graph of professional analyst EPS forecasts for First Commonwealth Financial.

Are First Commonwealth Financial 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. As a result, I'm encouraged by the fact that insiders own First Commonwealth Financial shares worth a considerable sum. Indeed, they hold US$23m worth of its stock. That shows significant buy-in, and may indicate conviction in the business strategy. Despite being just 1.7% 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? Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like First Commonwealth Financial with market caps between US$1.0b and US$3.2b is about US$3.5m.

The First Commonwealth Financial CEO received total compensation of just US$1.0m in the year to . That looks like modest pay to me, and may hint at a certain respect for the interests of shareholders. 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.

Does First Commonwealth Financial Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?

As I already mentioned, First Commonwealth Financial is a growing business, which is what I like to see. Earnings growth might be the main game for First Commonwealth Financial, but the fun does not stop there. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I'd argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. Even so, be aware that First Commonwealth Financial is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

Although First Commonwealth Financial 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.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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