ATA (NASDAQ:ATAI) and American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) are both small-cap consumer discretionary companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, institutional ownership, earnings, analyst recommendations, risk, dividends and valuation.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

0.9% of ATA shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 95.5% of American Public Education shares are owned by institutional investors. 52.9% of ATA shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.7% of American Public Education shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares ATA and American Public Education’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
ATA 22,426.20% -19.31% -15.59%
American Public Education 6.98% 7.79% 6.68%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for ATA and American Public Education, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
ATA 0 0 0 0 N/A
American Public Education 0 2 0 0 2.00

American Public Education has a consensus target price of $36.50, suggesting a potential upside of 47.30%. Given American Public Education’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe American Public Education is more favorable than ATA.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares ATA and American Public Education’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
ATA $190,000.00 236.80 $124.34 million N/A N/A
American Public Education $297.69 million 1.34 $25.64 million $1.62 15.30

ATA has higher earnings, but lower revenue than American Public Education.

Volatility & Risk

ATA has a beta of 2.3, meaning that its stock price is 130% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, American Public Education has a beta of 1.01, meaning that its stock price is 1% more volatile than the S&P 500.

About ATA

ATA Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides computer-based testing services in the People's Republic of China. The company offers services for the creation and delivery of computer-based tests utilizing its test delivery platform and proprietary testing technologies that are used for professional licensure and certification tests in various industries, including IT services, banking, teaching, and insurance; and administrative services, such as test registration, scheduling, fee collection, and certification fulfillment. Its e-testing platform integrates various aspects of the test delivery process for computer-based tests, from test form compilation to test scoring and results analysis. The company also offers mobile test administration platform MTS for test administration; and EzTest, an online self-service testing platform that provides testing management and delivery functions for the test delivery organizations and individuals, including item banking, test form composition, test delivery, online proctoring, and test result analysis. In addition, it provides EzInterview, an online interview management platform to support the talent assessment and hiring process; and HR Select, an employee assessment solution that enables corporate human resources departments to test, benchmark, and analyze job applicants; and online education services. As of December 31, 2017, the company operated 3,344 authorized test centers. It serves professional associations, governmental agencies, and IT vendors, as well as individual online education services consumers. ATA Inc. was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Beijing, the People's Republic of China.

About American Public Education

American Public Education, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides online and campus-based postsecondary education. The company operates through two segments, American Public Education and Hondros College of Nursing. It offers 108 degree programs and 109 certificate programs in various fields of study, including business administration, health science, technology, criminal justice, education, and liberal arts, as well as national security, military studies, intelligence, and homeland security. The company also provides diploma in practical nursing and an associate degree in nursing; and an online registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in nursing completion program. American Public Education, Inc. was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Charles Town, West Virginia.

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