Choosing Between Hot Stocks: Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST), Cannae Holdings, Inc. (CNNE)

The shares of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. have increased by more than 6.20% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -1.77% or -$0.38 and now trades at $21.08. The shares of Cannae Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CNNE), has jumped by 19.03% year to date as of 06/13/2018. The shares currently trade at $20.27 and have been able to report a change of -0.98% over the past one week.

The stock of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and Cannae Holdings, 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.

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. HST has an EBITDA margin of 31.2%, this implies that the underlying business of HST is more profitable. The ROI of HST is 5.50% while that of CNNE is -4.50%. These figures suggest that HST ventures generate a higher ROI than that of CNNE.

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, HST’s free cash flow per share is a negative -0.96, while that of CNNE is also a negative -1.21.

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 debt ratio of HST is 0.60 compared to 0.01 for CNNE. HST can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than CNNE.


HST currently trades at a forward P/E of 28.45, a P/B of 2.20, and a P/S of 2.92 while CNNE trades at a P/B of 1.35, and a P/S of 1.20. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, HST 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 HST is currently at a -1.63% to its one-year price target of 21.43. Looking at its rival pricing, CNNE is at a -7.15% relative to its price target of 21.83.

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), HST is given a 2.50 while 2.50 placed for CNNE. This means that analysts are equally bullish on their outlook for the two stocks 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 HST is 5.56 while that of CNNE is just 1.93. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for CNNE stock.


The stock of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. defeats that of Cannae Holdings, Inc. when the two are compared, with HST taking 5 out of the total factors that were been considered. HST 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, HST is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for HST is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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