Earnings

Choosing Between Hot Stocks: Ultra Petroleum Corp. (UPL), Black Box Corporation (BBOX)

The shares of Ultra Petroleum Corp. have decreased by more than -79.91% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -6.67% or -$0.13 and now trades at $1.82. The shares of Black Box Corporation (NASDAQ:BBOX), has slumped by -34.93% year to date as of 07/12/2018. The shares currently trade at $2.31 and have been able to report a change of 143.16% over the past one week.

The stock of Ultra Petroleum Corp. and Black Box Corporation were two of the most active stocks on Thursday. 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: 20.40% versus 10.00%

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 UPL will grow it’s earning at a 20.40% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to BBOX which will have a positive growth at a 10.00% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of UPL 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. UPL has an EBITDA margin of 88.57%, this implies that the underlying business of UPL is more profitable. The ROI of UPL is 52.00% while that of BBOX is -1.30%. These figures suggest that UPL ventures generate a higher ROI than that of BBOX.

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, UPL’s free cash flow per share is a positive 0.

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 UPL is 0.60 and that of BBOX is 1.70. This implies that it is easier for UPL to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than BBOX.

Valuation

UPL currently trades at a forward P/E of 1.82, and a P/S of 0.40 while BBOX trades at a P/B of 0.35, and a P/S of 0.02. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, UPL 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 UPL is currently at a -51.47% to its one-year price target of 3.75. Looking at its rival pricing, BBOX is at a -67% relative to its price target of 7.00.

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), UPL is given a 2.50 while 3.00 placed for BBOX. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for BBOX 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 UPL is 6.80 while that of BBOX is just 0.41. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for BBOX stock.

Conclusion

The stock of Black Box Corporation defeats that of Ultra Petroleum Corp. when the two are compared, with BBOX taking 5 out of the total factors that were been considered. BBOX 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, BBOX is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for BBOX is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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