The shares of Hi-Crush Partners LP have increased by more than 36.45% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 2.46% or $0.35 and now trades at $14.60. The shares of KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), has slumped by -12.05% year to date as of 05/17/2018. The shares currently trade at $17.44 and have been able to report a change of 2.95% over the past one week.

The stock of Hi-Crush Partners LP and KBR, Inc. were two of the most active stocks on Thuday. 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: -1.42% versus -2.49%**

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 HCLP will grow it’s earning at a -1.42% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to KBR which will have a positive growth at a -2.49% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of HCLP 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. HCLP has an EBITDA margin of 20.96%, this implies that the underlying business of HCLP is more profitable. The ROI of HCLP is 9.40% while that of KBR is 17.00%. These figures suggest that KBR ventures generate a higher ROI than that of HCLP.

**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, HCLP’s free cash flow per share is a positive 0.01, while that of KBR is negative -3.61.

**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 HCLP is 1.90 and that of KBR is 1.20. This implies that it is easier for HCLP to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than KBR. The debt ratio of HCLP is 0.24 compared to 0.38 for KBR. KBR can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than HCLP.

**Valuation**

HCLP currently trades at a forward P/E of 6.09, a P/B of 1.60, and a P/S of 1.76 while KBR trades at a forward P/E of 11.58, a P/B of 1.61, and a P/S of 0.60. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, HCLP 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 HCLP is currently at a -13.15% to its one-year price target of 16.81. Looking at its rival pricing, KBR is at a -10.01% relative to its price target of 19.38.

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), HCLP is given a 1.90 while 2.30 placed for KBR. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for KBR 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 HCLP is 4.41 while that of KBR is just 2.76. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for KBR stock.

Conclusion

The stock of KBR, Inc. defeats that of Hi-Crush Partners LP when the two are compared, with KBR taking 4 out of the total factors that were been considered. KBR 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, KBR is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for KBR is better on when it is viewed on short interest.