The shares of Ball Corporation have increased by more than 8.98% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -0.51% or -$0.21 and now trades at $41.25. The shares of Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CROX), has jumped by 50.00% year to date as of 08/09/2018. The shares currently trade at $18.96 and have been able to report a change of 5.57% over the past one week.

The stock of Ball Corporation and Crocs, Inc. 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: 10.57% 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 BLL will grow it’s earning at a 10.57% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to CROX which will have a positive growth at a 10.00% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of BLL 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. BLL has an EBITDA margin of 11.7%, this implies that the underlying business of BLL is more profitable. The ROI of BLL is 6.60% while that of CROX is 5.40%. These figures suggest that BLL ventures generate a higher ROI than that of CROX.

**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, BLL’s free cash flow per share is a positive 2.38, while that of CROX is negative -4.8.

**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 BLL is 1.10 and that of CROX is 2.50. This implies that it is easier for BLL to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than CROX. The debt ratio of BLL is 1.85 compared to 0.00 for CROX. BLL can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than CROX.

**Valuation**

BLL currently trades at a forward P/E of 15.05, a P/B of 3.58, and a P/S of 1.25 while CROX trades at a forward P/E of 25.01, a P/B of 7.10, and a P/S of 1.23. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, BLL 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 BLL is currently at a -7.39% to its one-year price target of 44.54. Looking at its rival pricing, CROX is at a 33.8% relative to its price target of 14.17.

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), BLL is given a 1.90 while 2.70 placed for CROX. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for CROX 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 BLL is 5.69 while that of CROX is just 9.51. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for BLL stock.

Conclusion

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