The shares of Red Hat, Inc. have increased by more than 16.63% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 4.38% or $5.88 and now trades at $140.07. The shares of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (NYSE:EDU), has slumped by -1.40% year to date as of 02/14/2018. The shares currently trade at $92.68 and have been able to report a change of 11.97% over the past one week.

The stock of Red Hat, Inc. and New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. were two of the most active stocks on Wednesday. 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.

**Next 5Y EPS Growth: 18.08% versus 26.10% **

When a company is able to grow consistently in terms of earnings at a high compound rate have the highest likelihood of creating value for its shareholders over time. Analysts have predicted that RHT will grow it’s earning at a 18.08% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to EDU which will have a positive growth at a 26.10% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of EDU implies a greater potential for capital appreciation over the years.

**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. RHT has an EBITDA margin of 20.15%, this implies that the underlying business of RHT is more profitable. The ROI of RHT is 13.30% while that of EDU is 12.40%. These figures suggest that RHT ventures generate a higher ROI than that of EDU.

**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, RHT’s free cash flow per share is a positive 5.65, while that of EDU is positive 6.84.

**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 RHT is 1.40 and that of EDU is 1.80. This implies that it is easier for RHT to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than EDU. The debt ratio of RHT is 0.53 compared to 0.00 for EDU. RHT can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than EDU.

**Valuation**

RHT currently trades at a forward P/E of 41.97, a P/B of 17.31, and a P/S of 8.93 while EDU trades at a forward P/E of 30.86, a P/B of 8.05, and a P/S of 6.95. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, EDU 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 RHT is currently at a 3.07% to its one-year price target of 135.90. Looking at its rival pricing, EDU is at a -13.53% relative to its price target of 107.18. This figure implies that over the next one year, EDU 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), RHT is given a 2.20 while 1.90 placed for EDU. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for RHT 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 RHT is 3.81 while that of EDU is just 1.27. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for EDU stock.

**Conclusion**

The stock of Red Hat, Inc. defeats that of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. when the two are compared, with RHT taking 3 out of the total factors that were been considered. RHT 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, RHT is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for RHT is better on when it is viewed on short interest.