Which is more compelling pick right now? – LendingClub Corporation (LC), SunTrust Banks, Inc. (STI)

The shares of LendingClub Corporation have decreased by more than -19.05% this year alone. The shares of SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE:STI), has jumped by 17.48% year to date as of 12/05/2017. The shares currently trade at $64.44 and have been able to report a change of 5.12% over the past one week.

The stock of LendingClub Corporation and SunTrust Banks, Inc. 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: -8.60% versus 9.06%

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 LC will grow it’s earning at a -8.60% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to STI which will have a positive growth at a 9.06% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of STI 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. LC has an EBITDA margin of 24.1%, this implies that the underlying business of STI is more profitable. The ROI of LC is -2.80% while that of STI is 11.60%. These figures suggest that STI ventures generate a higher ROI than that of LC.

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, LC’s free cash flow per share is a negative -11.85, while that of STI is also a negative -7.74.

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 LC is 3.54 compared to 0.50 for STI. LC can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than STI.


LC currently trades at a forward P/E of 23.10, a P/B of 1.76, and a P/S of 1.57 while STI trades at a forward P/E of 14.50, a P/B of 1.37, and a P/S of 4.94. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, LC 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 LC is currently at a -33.7% to its one-year price target of 6.41. Looking at its rival pricing, STI is at a 0.72% relative to its price target of 63.98. This figure implies that over the next one year, STI 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), LC is given a 2.50 while 2.40 placed for STI. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for LC 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 LC is 4.82 while that of STI is just 2.62. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for STI stock.


The stock of LendingClub Corporation defeats that of SunTrust Banks, Inc. when the two are compared, with LC taking 5 out of the total factors that were been considered. LC 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, LC is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for LC is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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