The shares of Berry Global Group, Inc. have decreased by more than -15.20% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 1.41% or $0.69 and now trades at $49.75. The shares of AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (NYSE:AVB), has slumped by -9.48% year to date as of 05/23/2018. The shares currently trade at $161.49 and have been able to report a change of 1.25% over the past one week.

The stock of Berry Global Group, Inc. and AvalonBay Communities, 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.

**Next 5Y EPS Growth: 11.91% versus 2.54%**

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 BERY will grow it’s earning at a 11.91% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to AVB which will have a positive growth at a 2.54% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of BERY 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. BERY has an EBITDA margin of 17.17%, this implies that the underlying business of AVB is more profitable. The ROI of BERY is 9.20% while that of AVB is 3.20%. These figures suggest that BERY ventures generate a higher ROI than that of AVB.

**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, BERY’s free cash flow per share is a positive 0.58, while that of AVB is positive 4.87.

**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 debt ratio of BERY is 4.62 compared to 0.74 for AVB. BERY can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than AVB.

**Valuation**

BERY currently trades at a forward P/E of 12.33, a P/B of 5.02, and a P/S of 0.87 while AVB trades at a forward P/E of 35.82, a P/B of 2.15, and a P/S of 10.21. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, BERY 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 BERY is currently at a -25.14% to its one-year price target of 66.46. Looking at its rival pricing, AVB is at a -13% relative to its price target of 185.63.

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), BERY is given a 1.80 while 2.30 placed for AVB. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for AVB 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 BERY is 1.43 while that of AVB is just 3.91. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for BERY stock.

Conclusion

The stock of AvalonBay Communities, Inc. defeats that of Berry Global Group, Inc. when the two are compared, with AVB taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. AVB 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, AVB is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for AVB is better on when it is viewed on short interest.