Are These Stocks A Sure Bet? – ServiceNow, Inc. (NOW), Fortinet, Inc. (FTNT)

The shares of ServiceNow, Inc. have increased by more than 38.70% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -3.85% or -$7.24 and now trades at $180.85. The shares of Fortinet, Inc. (NASDAQ:FTNT), has jumped by 67.96% year to date as of 12/04/2018. The shares currently trade at $73.38 and have been able to report a change of 3.79% over the past one week.

The stock of ServiceNow, Inc. and Fortinet, Inc. were two of the most active stocks on Tuesday. 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: 45.13% versus 26.45%

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 NOW will grow it’s earning at a 45.13% annual rate in the next 5 years. This is in contrast to FTNT which will have a positive growth at a 26.45% annual rate. This means that the higher growth rate of NOW 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. NOW has an EBITDA margin of 14.45%, this implies that the underlying business of FTNT is more profitable. The ROI of NOW is 8.30% while that of FTNT is 13.60%. These figures suggest that FTNT ventures generate a higher ROI than that of NOW.

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, NOW’s free cash flow per share is a positive 4.73, while that of FTNT is positive 10.25.

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 NOW is 1.30 and that of FTNT is 1.90. This implies that it is easier for NOW to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than FTNT. The debt ratio of NOW is 0.80 compared to 0.00 for FTNT. NOW can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than FTNT.


NOW currently trades at a forward P/E of 57.76, a P/B of 31.67, and a P/S of 13.25 while FTNT trades at a forward P/E of 36.69, a P/B of 13.98, and a P/S of 7.31. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, FTNT 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 NOW is currently at a -14.19% to its one-year price target of 210.76. Looking at its rival pricing, FTNT is at a -13.2% relative to its price target of 84.54.

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), NOW is given a 1.80 while 2.40 placed for FTNT. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for FTNT 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 NOW is 4.71 while that of FTNT is just 2.18. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for FTNT stock.


The stock of ServiceNow, Inc. defeats that of Fortinet, Inc. when the two are compared, with NOW taking 3 out of the total factors that were been considered. NOW 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, NOW is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for NOW is better on when it is viewed on short interest.

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