The shares of Acadia Healthcare Company, Inc. have increased by more than 6.31% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -5.09% or -$1.86 and now trades at $34.69. The shares of A. O. Smith Corporation (NYSE:AOS), has slumped by -21.88% year to date as of 10/11/2018. The shares currently trade at $47.87 and have been able to report a change of -8.49% over the past one week.
The stock of Acadia Healthcare Company, Inc. and A. O. Smith 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: 11.56% versus 11.30%
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 ACHC will grow it’s earning at a 11.56% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to AOS which will have a positive growth at a 11.30% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of ACHC 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. ACHC has an EBITDA margin of 36.65%, this implies that the underlying business of ACHC is more profitable. The ROI of ACHC is 6.10% while that of AOS is 18.40%. These figures suggest that AOS ventures generate a higher ROI than that of ACHC.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, ACHC’s free cash flow per share is a positive 1.9, while that of AOS is positive 2.56.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 ACHC is 1.20 and that of AOS is 2.20. This implies that it is easier for ACHC to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than AOS. The debt ratio of ACHC is 1.21 compared to 0.14 for AOS. ACHC can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than AOS.Valuation
ACHC currently trades at a forward P/E of 12.61, a P/B of 1.14, and a P/S of 1.03 while AOS trades at a forward P/E of 16.42, a P/B of 4.73, and a P/S of 2.64. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, ACHC 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 ACHC is currently at a -20.78% to its one-year price target of 43.79. Looking at its rival pricing, AOS is at a -28.08% relative to its price target of 66.56.
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), ACHC is given a 2.00 while 2.20 placed for AOS. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for AOS 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 ACHC is 12.18 while that of AOS is just 3.90. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for AOS stock.
The stock of A. O. Smith Corporation defeats that of Acadia Healthcare Company, Inc. when the two are compared, with AOS taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. AOS 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, AOS is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for AOS is better on when it is viewed on short interest.