Which one would appeal to long-term investors? WPX Energy, Inc. (WPX), Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK)

The shares of WPX Energy, Inc. have decreased by more than -4.58% this year alone. The shares recently went down by -1.46% or -$0.16 and now trades at $10.83. The shares of Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE:WLK), has slumped by -2.89% year to date as of 09/12/2019. The shares currently trade at $64.26 and have been able to report a change of 6.73% over the past one week.

The stock of WPX Energy, Inc. and Westlake Chemical Corporation were two of the most active stocks on Thursday. 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. WPX has an EBITDA margin of 34.32%, this implies that the underlying business of WPX is more profitable. The ROI of WPX is 6.00% while that of WLK is 13.50%. These figures suggest that WLK ventures generate a higher ROI than that of WPX.

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, WPX’s free cash flow per share is a positive 1.65, while that of WLK is positive 0.92.

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 WPX is 0.80 and that of WLK is 2.10. This implies that it is easier for WPX to cover its immediate obligations over the next 12 months than WLK. The debt ratio of WPX is 0.47 compared to 0.00 for WLK. WPX can be able to settle its long-term debts and thus is a lower financial risk than WLK.

Valuation

WPX currently trades at a forward P/E of 16.26, a P/B of 1.00, and a P/S of 1.81 while WLK trades at a forward P/E of 12.19, a P/B of 1.44, and a P/S of 0.97. This means that looking at the earnings, book values and sales basis, WPX 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 WPX is currently at a -34.6% to its one-year price target of 16.56. Looking at its rival pricing, WLK is at a -10.92% relative to its price target of 72.14.

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), WPX is given a 1.70 while 2.70 placed for WLK. This means that analysts are more bullish on the outlook for WLK 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 WPX is 3.73 while that of WLK is just 5.96. This means that analysts are more bullish on the forecast for WPX stock.

Conclusion

The stock of WPX Energy, Inc. defeats that of Westlake Chemical Corporation when the two are compared, with WPX taking 6 out of the total factors that were been considered. WPX 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, WPX is the cheaper one on an earnings, book value and sales basis. Finally, the sentiment signal for WPX is better on when it is viewed on short interest.