Choosing Between Hot Stocks: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Yum China Holdings, Inc. (YUMC)

The shares of Johnson & Johnson have decreased by more than -9.56% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -3.85% or -$5.06 and now trades at $126.36. The shares of Yum China Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:YUMC), has jumped by 2.45% year to date as of 02/08/2018. The shares currently trade at $41.00 and have been able to report a change of -12.30% over the past one week.

The stock of Johnson & Johnson and Yum China Holdings, Inc. 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.

Next 5Y EPS Growth: 7.77% versus 11.62%

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 JNJ will grow it’s earning at a 7.77% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to YUMC which will have a positive growth at a 11.62% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of YUMC 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. JNJ has an EBITDA margin of 33.77%, this implies that the underlying business of JNJ is more profitable. These figures suggest that YUMC ventures generate a higher ROI than that of JNJ.

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, JNJ’s free cash flow per share is a positive 0, while that of YUMC is positive 6.26.


JNJ currently trades at a forward P/E of 14.79, a P/B of 4.59, and a P/S of 4.52 while YUMC trades at a forward P/E of 25.14, a P/B of 5.51, and a P/S of 2.35. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, JNJ 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 JNJ is currently at a -15.58% to its one-year price target of 149.68. Looking at its rival pricing, YUMC is at a -14.9% relative to its price target of 48.18. This figure implies that over the next one year, YUMC 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), JNJ is given a 2.50 while 2.10 placed for YUMC. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for JNJ 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 JNJ is 2.61 while that of YUMC is just 3.08. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for JNJ stock.


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

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