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Choosing Between Hot Stocks: Lam Research Corporation (LRCX), Sandstorm Gold Ltd. (SAND)

The shares of Lam Research Corporation have decreased by more than -0.58% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 6.06% or $10.45 and now trades at $183.01. The shares of Sandstorm Gold Ltd. (NYSE:SAND), has jumped by 2.20% year to date as of 02/14/2018. The shares currently trade at $5.10 and have been able to report a change of 7.14% over the past one week.

The stock of Lam Research Corporation and Sandstorm Gold Ltd. 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. LRCX has an EBITDA margin of 30.25%, this implies that the underlying business of LRCX is more profitable. These figures suggest that LRCX ventures generate a higher ROI than that of SAND.



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, LRCX’s free cash flow per share is a negative -1.63, while that of SAND is positive 0.02.

Valuation




LRCX currently trades at a forward P/E of 11.38, a P/B of 4.80, and a P/S of 3.03 while SAND trades at a forward P/E of 63.75, a P/B of 1.41, and a P/S of 13.39. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, LRCX 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 LRCX is currently at a -26.64% to its one-year price target of 249.47. Looking at its rival pricing, SAND is at a -14.14% relative to its price target of 5.94. This figure implies that over the next one year, SAND 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), LRCX is given a 1.90 while 2.20 placed for SAND. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for SAND 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 LRCX is 3.03 while that of SAND is just 1.92. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for SAND stock.

Conclusion

The stock of Sandstorm Gold Ltd. defeats that of Lam Research Corporation when the two are compared, with SAND taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. SAND 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, SAND is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for SAND is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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