Uncovering the next great stocks: Zosano Pharma Corporation (ZSAN), Essendant Inc. (ESND)

The shares of Zosano Pharma Corporation have decreased by more than -54.62% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 4.66% or $0.21 and now trades at $4.72. The shares of Essendant Inc. (NASDAQ:ESND), has jumped by 17.80% year to date as of 05/15/2018. The shares currently trade at $10.92 and have been able to report a change of 10.53% over the past one week.

The stock of Zosano Pharma Corporation and Essendant Inc. were two of the most active stocks on Tueday. 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. These figures suggest that ZSAN ventures generate a higher ROI than that of ESND.

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 ZSAN is 1.30 and that of ESND is 2.20. This implies that it is easier for ZSAN to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than ESND. The debt ratio of ZSAN is 0.96 compared to 1.22 for ESND. ESND can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than ZSAN.


ZSAN currently trades at a P/B of 1.32, while ESND trades at a forward P/E of 10.50, a P/B of 0.91, and a P/S of 0.08. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, ESND 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 ZSAN is currently at a -94.1% to its one-year price target of 80.00. Looking at its rival pricing, ESND is at a 9.2% relative to its price target of 10.00.

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), ZSAN is given a 2.00 while 1.00 placed for ESND. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for ZSAN 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 ZSAN is 0.61 while that of ESND is just 3.01. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for ZSAN stock.


The stock of Zosano Pharma Corporation defeats that of Essendant Inc. when the two are compared, with ZSAN taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. ZSAN 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, ZSAN is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for ZSAN is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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