Which is more compelling pick right now? – Urban Outfitters, Inc. (URBN), Vericel Corporation (VCEL)

The shares of Urban Outfitters, Inc. have increased by more than 4.05% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 3.75% or $1.32 and now trades at $36.48. The shares of Vericel Corporation (NASDAQ:VCEL), has jumped by 53.21% year to date as of 03/02/2018. The shares currently trade at $8.35 and have been able to report a change of 14.38% over the past one week.

The stock of Urban Outfitters, Inc. and Vericel Corporation were two of the most active stocks on Friday. 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. URBN has an EBITDA margin of 10.97%, this implies that the underlying business of URBN is more profitable. The ROI of URBN is 16.60% while that of VCEL is 534.60%. These figures suggest that VCEL ventures generate a higher ROI than that of URBN.

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, URBN’s free cash flow per share is a positive 0.73, while that of VCEL is negative -0.01.

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 URBN is 2.30 and that of VCEL is 2.50. This implies that it is easier for URBN to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than VCEL. The debt ratio of URBN is 0.00 compared to 0.60 for VCEL. VCEL can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than URBN.


URBN currently trades at a forward P/E of 18.85, a P/B of 3.11, and a P/S of 1.07 while VCEL trades at a P/B of 16.70, and a P/S of 4.92. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, URBN 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 URBN is currently at a 5.37% to its one-year price target of 34.62. Looking at its rival pricing, VCEL is at a 13.76% relative to its price target of 7.34. This figure implies that over the next one year, VCEL 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), URBN is given a 2.50 while 1.50 placed for VCEL. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for URBN 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 URBN is 4.01 while that of VCEL is just 1.62. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for VCEL stock.


The stock of Vericel Corporation defeats that of Urban Outfitters, Inc. when the two are compared, with VCEL taking 5 out of the total factors that were been considered. VCEL 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, VCEL is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for VCEL is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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