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A Comparison of Top Movers: Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST), US Foods Holding Corp. (USFD)

The shares of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. have increased by more than 4.09% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -0.61% or -$0.12 and now trades at $19.61. The shares of US Foods Holding Corp. (NYSE:USFD), has jumped by 9.57% year to date as of 12/05/2017. The shares currently trade at $30.11 and have been able to report a change of 6.32% over the past one week.

The stock of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and US Foods Holding Corp. were two of the most active stocks on Tueday. 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: 28.40% versus 18.20%

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 HST will grow it’s earning at a 28.40% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to USFD which will have a positive growth at a 18.20% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of HST 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. HST has an EBITDA margin of 22.21%, this implies that the underlying business of HST is more profitable. The ROI of HST is 6.10% while that of USFD is 6.80%. These figures suggest that USFD ventures generate a higher ROI than that of HST.

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, HST’s free cash flow per share is a positive 0.68, while that of USFD is positive 0.36.

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 HST is 0.56 compared to 1.41 for USFD. USFD can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than HST.

Valuation

HST currently trades at a forward P/E of 29.05, a P/B of 2.05, and a P/S of 2.68 while USFD trades at a forward P/E of 17.77, a P/B of 2.45, and a P/S of 0.28. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, HST 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 HST is currently at a -0.71% to its one-year price target of 19.75. Looking at its rival pricing, USFD is at a -2.62% relative to its price target of 30.92. This figure implies that over the next one year, USFD is a better investment.

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), HST is given a 2.60 while 2.10 placed for USFD. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for HST 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 HST is 7.26 while that of USFD is just 1.45. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for USFD stock.

Conclusion

The stock of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. defeats that of US Foods Holding Corp. when the two are compared, with HST taking 5 out of the total factors that were been considered. HST 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, HST is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for HST is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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