Which of these 2 stocks can turn out to be absolute gem? – Cousins Properties Incorporated (CUZ), International Paper Company (IP)

The shares of Cousins Properties Incorporated have increased by more than 3.68% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -2.44% or -$0.24 and now trades at $9.59. The shares of International Paper Company (NYSE:IP), has slumped by -1.28% year to date as of 06/13/2018. The shares currently trade at $57.20 and have been able to report a change of -3.03% over the past one week.

The stock of Cousins Properties Incorporated and International Paper Company 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. CUZ has an EBITDA margin of 18.18%, this implies that the underlying business of CUZ is more profitable. These figures suggest that IP ventures generate a higher ROI than that of CUZ.

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, CUZ’s free cash flow per share is a negative -0.01, while that of IP is also a negative -0.1.

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 CUZ is 0.39 compared to 1.57 for IP. IP can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than CUZ.


CUZ currently trades at a forward P/E of 87.18, a P/B of 1.45, and a P/S of 8.67 while IP trades at a forward P/E of 10.27, a P/B of 3.26, and a P/S of 1.07. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, CUZ 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 CUZ is currently at a -1.64% to its one-year price target of 9.75. Looking at its rival pricing, IP is at a -14.84% relative to its price target of 67.17.

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), CUZ is given a 1.80 while 2.10 placed for IP. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for IP 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 CUZ is 4.04 while that of IP is just 2.85. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for IP stock.


The stock of Cousins Properties Incorporated defeats that of International Paper Company when the two are compared, with CUZ taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. CUZ 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, CUZ is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for CUZ is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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