Which of 2 stocks would appeal to long-term investors? Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA), ICICI Bank Limited (IBN)

The shares of Alibaba Group Holding Limited have decreased by more than -0.23% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -2.21% or -$3.88 and now trades at $172.04. The shares of ICICI Bank Limited (NYSE:IBN), has slumped by -10.07% year to date as of 04/13/2018. The shares currently trade at $8.75 and have been able to report a change of 3.92% over the past one week.

The stock of Alibaba Group Holding Limited and ICICI Bank Limited were two of the most active stocks on Friday. 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: 5.20% versus 22.00%

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 BABA will grow it’s earning at a 5.20% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to IBN which will have a positive growth at a 22.00% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of IBN 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. BABA has an EBITDA margin of 39.61%, this implies that the underlying business of BABA is more profitable. The ROI of BABA is 8.70% while that of IBN is 2.70%. These figures suggest that BABA ventures generate a higher ROI than that of IBN.

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, BABA’s free cash flow per share is a positive 28.51.


BABA currently trades at a forward P/E of 25.89, a P/B of 7.90, and a P/S of 12.48 while IBN trades at a forward P/E of 17.19, and a P/S of 6.13. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, BABA 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 BABA is currently at a -21.13% to its one-year price target of 218.13. Looking at its rival pricing, IBN is at a -33.96% relative to its price target of 13.25.

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), BABA is given a 1.70 while 1.50 placed for IBN. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for BABA 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 BABA is 5.78 while that of IBN is just 0.67. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for IBN stock.


The stock of Alibaba Group Holding Limited defeats that of ICICI Bank Limited when the two are compared, with BABA taking 5 out of the total factors that were been considered. BABA 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, BABA is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for BABA is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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