Which of these 2 stocks can turn out to be absolute gem? – Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO), Coupa Software Incorporated (COUP)

The shares of Marathon Oil Corporation have increased by more than 9.86% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 3.91% or $0.7 and now trades at $18.60. The shares of Coupa Software Incorporated (NASDAQ:COUP), has jumped by 7.59% year to date as of 01/11/2018. The shares currently trade at $33.59 and have been able to report a change of 1.45% over the past one week.

The stock of Marathon Oil Corporation and Coupa Software Incorporated were two of the most active stocks on Thursday. Investors seem to be very interested in what happens to the stocks of these two companies but do investors favor one over the other? We will analyze the growth, profitability, risk, valuation, and insider trends of both companies and see which one investors prefer.

Profitability and Returns

Growth alone cannot be used to see if the company will be valuable. Shareholders will be the losers if a company invest in ventures that aren’t profitable enough to support upbeat growth. In order for us to accurately measure profitability and return, we will be using the EBITDA margin and Return on Investment (ROI), which balances the difference in capital structure. MRO has an EBITDA margin of 37.93%, this implies that the underlying business of MRO is more profitable. The ROI of MRO is -7.30% while that of COUP is -20.90%. These figures suggest that MRO ventures generate a higher ROI than that of COUP.

Cash Flow 

The value of a stock is ultimately determined by the amount of cash flow that the investors have available. Over the last 12 months, MRO’s free cash flow per share is a negative -0.21.

Liquidity and Financial Risk

The ability of a company to meet up with its short-term obligations and be able to clear its longer-term debts is measured using Liquidity and leverage ratios. The current ratio for MRO is 2.10 and that of COUP is 2.10. This implies that it is easier for MRO to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than COUP. The debt ratio of MRO is 0.55 compared to 0.00 for COUP. MRO can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than COUP.


MRO currently trades at a P/B of 1.34, and a P/S of 3.45 while COUP trades at a P/B of 8.98, and a P/S of 10.81. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, MRO is the cheaper one. It is very obvious that earnings are the most important factors to investors, thus analysts are most likely to place their bet on the P/E.

Analyst Price Targets and Opinions

The mistake some people make is that they think a cheap stock has more value to it. In order to know the value of a stock, there is need to compare its current price to its likely trading price in the future. The price of MRO is currently at a 1.36% to its one-year price target of 18.35. Looking at its rival pricing, COUP is at a -12.57% relative to its price target of 38.42. This figure implies that over the next one year, COUP is a better investment.

When looking at the investment recommendation on say a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being a strong buy, 3 a hold, and 5 a sell), MRO is given a 2.30 while 2.10 placed for COUP. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for MRO stocks.

Insider Activity and Investor Sentiment

Short interest or otherwise called the percentage of a stock’s tradable shares currently being shorted is another data that investors use to get a handle on sentiment. The short ratio for MRO is 1.70 while that of COUP is just 3.62. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for MRO stock.


The stock of Coupa Software Incorporated defeats that of Marathon Oil Corporation when the two are compared, with COUP taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. COUP happens to be more profitable, generates a higher ROI, has higher cash flow per share, higher liquidity and has a lower financial risk. When looking at the stock valuation, COUP is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for COUP is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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