Which Market Offer More Value? – Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA), Discovery Communications, Inc. (DISCA)

The shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. have decreased by more than -14.15% this year alone. The shares recently went up by 1.24% or $0.87 and now trades at $71.05. The shares of Discovery Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:DISCA), has slumped by -29.08% year to date as of 12/05/2017. The shares currently trade at $19.44 and have been able to report a change of 3.02% over the past one week.

The stock of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and Discovery Communications, 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: 15.40% versus 10.97%

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 WBA will grow it’s earning at a 15.40% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to DISCA which will have a positive growth at a 10.97% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of WBA 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. WBA has an EBITDA margin of 6.09%, this implies that the underlying business of DISCA is more profitable. The ROI of WBA is 11.90% while that of DISCA is 11.80%. These figures suggest that WBA ventures generate a higher ROI than that of DISCA.

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, WBA’s free cash flow per share is a positive 0.85, while that of DISCA is positive 7.35.

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 WBA is 1.10 and that of DISCA is 5.90. This implies that it is easier for WBA to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than DISCA. The debt ratio of WBA is 0.47 compared to 2.56 for DISCA. DISCA can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than WBA.


WBA currently trades at a forward P/E of 11.71, a P/B of 2.73, and a P/S of 0.60 while DISCA trades at a forward P/E of 8.64, a P/B of 1.29, and a P/S of 1.06. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, WBA 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 WBA is currently at a -17.62% to its one-year price target of 86.25. Looking at its rival pricing, DISCA is at a -11.96% relative to its price target of 22.08. This figure implies that over the next one year, DISCA 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), WBA is given a 2.20 while 2.90 placed for DISCA. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for DISCA 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 WBA is 2.99 while that of DISCA is just 6.67. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for WBA stock.


The stock of Discovery Communications, Inc. defeats that of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. when the two are compared, with DISCA taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. DISCA 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, DISCA is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for DISCA is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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