Comparing Top Moving Stocks Enerplus Corporation (ERF), Verastem, Inc. (VSTM)

The shares of Enerplus Corporation have decreased by more than -16.11% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -3.70% or -$0.25 and now trades at $6.51. The shares of Verastem, Inc. (NASDAQ:VSTM), has slumped by -65.92% year to date as of 10/08/2019. The shares currently trade at $1.14 and have been able to report a change of -2.14% over the past one week.

The stock of Enerplus Corporation and Verastem, 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.

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. The ROI of ERF is 13.60% while that of VSTM is -38.70%. These figures suggest that ERF ventures generate a higher ROI than that of VSTM.

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, ERF’s free cash flow per share is a positive 5.35, while that of VSTM is negative -0.13.

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 ERF is 1.00 and that of VSTM is 6.20. This implies that it is easier for ERF to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than VSTM. The debt ratio of ERF is 0.35 compared to 2.71 for VSTM. VSTM can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than ERF.

Valuation

ERF currently trades at a forward P/E of 6.38, a P/B of 1.06, and a P/S of 1.52 while VSTM trades at a P/B of 1.71, and a P/S of 4.05. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, ERF 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 ERF is currently at a -52.1% to its one-year price target of 13.59. Looking at its rival pricing, VSTM is at a -76.4% relative to its price target of 4.83.

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), ERF is given a 2.00 while 2.40 placed for VSTM. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for VSTM 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 ERF is 4.50 while that of VSTM is just 14.69. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for ERF stock.

Conclusion

The stock of Verastem, Inc. defeats that of Enerplus Corporation when the two are compared, with VSTM taking 4 out of the total factors that were been considered. VSTM 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, VSTM is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for VSTM is better on when it is viewed on short interest.