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Uncovering the next great stocks: HP Inc. (HPQ), Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (ICON)

The shares of HP Inc. have increased by more than 49.06% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 1.70% or $0.37 and now trades at $22.12. The shares of Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICON), has slumped by -75.70% year to date as of 11/20/2017. The shares currently trade at $2.27 and have been able to report a change of 24.04% over the past one week.

The stock of HP Inc. and Iconix Brand Group, Inc. were two of the most active stocks on Monday. 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: 6.29% versus 15.00%

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 HPQ will grow it’s earning at a 6.29% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to ICON which will have a positive growth at a 15.00% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of ICON 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. HPQ has an EBITDA margin of 7.47%, this implies that the underlying business of HPQ is more profitable. The ROI of HPQ is 83.90% while that of ICON is -10.60%. These figures suggest that HPQ ventures generate a higher ROI than that of ICON.

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, HPQ’s free cash flow per share is a positive 3.05, while that of ICON is positive 0.

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 HPQ is 1.00 and that of ICON is 1.00. This implies that it is easier for HPQ to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than ICON.

Valuation

HPQ currently trades at a forward P/E of 12.37, a P/S of 0.73 while ICON trades at a forward P/E of 3.72, a P/B of 0.29, and a P/S of 0.48 . This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, ICON 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 HPQ is currently at a -4.08% to its one-year price target of 23.06. Looking at its rival pricing, ICON is at a 13.5% relative to its price target of 2.00. This figure implies that over the next one year, ICON 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), HPQ is given a 2.10 while 3.00 placed for ICON. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for ICON 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 HPQ is 3.12 while that of ICON is just 4.24. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for HPQ stock.

Conclusion

The stock of Iconix Brand Group, Inc. defeats that of HP Inc. when the two are compared, with ICON taking 4 out of the total factors that were been considered. ICON 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, ICON is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for ICON is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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