Earnings

Which is more compelling pick right now? – First American Financial Corporation (FAF), Sea Limited (SE)

The shares of First American Financial Corporation have decreased by more than -17.93% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -10.00% or -$5.11 and now trades at $45.99. The shares of Sea Limited (NYSE:SE), has slumped by -10.73% year to date as of 10/11/2018. The shares currently trade at $11.90 and have been able to report a change of -7.18% over the past one week.

The stock of First American Financial Corporation and Sea Limited 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.

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. FAF has an EBITDA margin of 11.03%, this implies that the underlying business of FAF is more profitable. The ROI of FAF is 8.20% while that of SE is -42.80%. These figures suggest that FAF ventures generate a higher ROI than that of SE.

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, FAF’s free cash flow per share is a positive 2.3.

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 FAF is 0.23 compared to 5.01 for SE. SE can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than FAF.

Valuation

FAF currently trades at a forward P/E of 9.60, a P/B of 1.45, and a P/S of 0.89 while SE trades at a P/B of 17.50, and a P/S of 7.09. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, FAF 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 FAF is currently at a -29.68% to its one-year price target of 65.40. Looking at its rival pricing, SE is at a -34.51% relative to its price target of 18.17.




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), FAF is given a 2.20 while 1.70 placed for SE. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for FAF 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 FAF is 5.60 while that of SE is just 9.45. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for FAF stock.

Conclusion

The stock of Sea Limited defeats that of First American Financial Corporation when the two are compared, with SE taking 5 out of the total factors that were been considered. SE 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, SE is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for SE is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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