Earnings

Which of these 2 stocks can turn out to be absolute gem? – Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (ASNA), MBT Financial Corp. (MBTF)

The shares of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. have increased by more than 81.28% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -1.84% or -$0.08 and now trades at $4.26. The shares of MBT Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:MBTF), has jumped by 22.27% year to date as of 10/10/2018. The shares currently trade at $12.23 and have been able to report a change of 10.13% over the past one week.

The stock of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. and MBT Financial Corp. were two of the most active stocks on Wednesday. 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. ASNA has an EBITDA margin of 5.08%, this implies that the underlying business of MBTF is more profitable. The ROI of ASNA is 1.10% while that of MBTF is 26.50%. These figures suggest that MBTF ventures generate a higher ROI than that of ASNA.

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, ASNA’s free cash flow per share is a positive 1.16.

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 ASNA is 1.66 compared to 0.00 for MBTF. ASNA can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than MBTF.

Valuation

ASNA currently trades at a forward P/E of 86.94, a P/B of 1.05, and a P/S of 0.12 while MBTF trades at a forward P/E of 14.44, a P/B of 2.33, and a P/S of 6.62. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, ASNA 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 ASNA is currently at a 21.71% to its one-year price target of 3.50. Looking at its rival pricing, MBTF is at a 1.92% relative to its price target of 12.00.




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), ASNA is given a 3.40 while 2.70 placed for MBTF. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for ASNA 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 ASNA is 19.16 while that of MBTF is just 3.71. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for MBTF stock.

Conclusion

The stock of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. defeats that of MBT Financial Corp. when the two are compared, with ASNA taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. ASNA 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, ASNA is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for ASNA is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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