Financial Metrics You Should Care About: AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS), Warrior Met Coal, Inc. (HCC)

The shares of AK Steel Holding Corporation have decreased by more than -8.48% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 7.02% or $0.34 and now trades at $5.18. The shares of Warrior Met Coal, Inc. (NYSE:HCC), has jumped by 22.98% year to date as of 02/14/2018. The shares currently trade at $30.93 and have been able to report a change of 13.92% over the past one week.

The stock of AK Steel Holding Corporation and Warrior Met Coal, 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. AKS has an EBITDA margin of 9.44%, this implies that the underlying business of HCC is more profitable. The ROI of AKS is 14.70% while that of HCC is -13.30%. These figures suggest that AKS ventures generate a higher ROI than that of HCC.

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, AKS’s free cash flow per share is a negative -0.31, while that of HCC is positive 0.02.

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 AKS is 1.90 and that of HCC is 5.80. This implies that it is easier for AKS to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than HCC.


AKS currently trades at a forward P/E of 7.15, and a P/S of 0.27 while HCC trades at a forward P/E of 5.63, a P/B of 1.78, and a P/S of 1.52. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, AKS 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 AKS is currently at a -16.85% to its one-year price target of 6.23. Looking at its rival pricing, HCC is at a 8.3% relative to its price target of 28.56. This figure implies that over the next one year, HCC 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), AKS is given a 2.70 while 2.70 placed for HCC. 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 AKS is 2.85 while that of HCC is just 10.26. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for AKS stock.


The stock of AK Steel Holding Corporation defeats that of Warrior Met Coal, Inc. when the two are compared, with AKS taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. AKS 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, AKS is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for AKS is better on when it is viewed on short interest.


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