Which of 2 stocks would appeal to long-term investors? Gastar Exploration Inc. (GST), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)

The shares of Gastar Exploration Inc. have decreased by more than -47.65% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -7.95% or -$0.05 and now trades at $0.55. The shares of Science Applications International Corporation (NYSE:SAIC), has jumped by 5.38% year to date as of 06/13/2018. The shares currently trade at $80.69 and have been able to report a change of -8.38% over the past one week.

The stock of Gastar Exploration Inc. and Science Applications International Corporation 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: 4.00% versus 5.00%

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 GST will grow it’s earning at a 4.00% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to SAIC which will have a positive growth at a 5.00% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of SAIC 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. GST has an EBITDA margin of 44.73%, this implies that the underlying business of GST is more profitable. The ROI of GST is -2.60% while that of SAIC is 15.10%. These figures suggest that SAIC ventures generate a higher ROI than that of GST.

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, GST’s free cash flow per share is a negative -0.02, while that of SAIC is positive 1.37.

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 GST is 1.90 and that of SAIC is 1.40. This implies that it is easier for GST to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than SAIC.


GST currently trades at a P/S of 1.68 while SAIC trades at a forward P/E of 16.96, a P/B of 10.53, and a P/S of 0.76. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, SAIC 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 GST is currently at a -48.11% to its one-year price target of 1.06. Looking at its rival pricing, SAIC is at a -7.96% relative to its price target of 87.67.

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), GST is given a 2.50 while 2.30 placed for SAIC. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for GST 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 GST is 18.38 while that of SAIC is just 4.32. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for SAIC stock.


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

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