K12 (NYSE: LRN) and Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ:CECO) are both small-cap consumer discretionary companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, earnings, dividends, institutional ownership, risk and profitability.

Risk and Volatility

K12 has a beta of -0.24, indicating that its stock price is 124% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Career Education Corporation has a beta of 2.74, indicating that its stock price is 174% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for K12 and Career Education Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
K12 0 0 2 0 3.00
Career Education Corporation 0 1 1 0 2.50

K12 presently has a consensus target price of $18.50, indicating a potential upside of 5.29%. Career Education Corporation has a consensus target price of $13.00, indicating a potential upside of 31.18%. Given Career Education Corporation’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Career Education Corporation is more favorable than K12.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares K12 and Career Education Corporation’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
K12 $888.52 million 0.76 $35.91 million N/A N/A
Career Education Corporation $631.21 million 1.08 $42.44 million ($0.36) -27.53

Career Education Corporation has higher revenue, but lower earnings than K12.

Profitability

This table compares K12 and Career Education Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
K12 0.05% 3.18% 2.40%
Career Education Corporation -3.82% 3.73% 2.35%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

79.5% of K12 shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 75.4% of Career Education Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 18.3% of K12 shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 4.9% of Career Education Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

K12 beats Career Education Corporation on 7 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

K12 Company Profile

K12 Inc. (K12) is a technology-based education company. The Company offers curriculum, software systems and educational services designed to facilitate individualized learning for students in kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12). It provides a continuum of technology-based educational products and solutions to public school districts, public schools, virtual charter schools, private schools and families. The Company offers a set of products and services primarily to three lines of business, which include Managed Public School Programs, which consists of virtual and blended schools; Institutional business, which includes educational products and services sold to school districts, public schools and other educational institutions, and Private Pay Schools and Other, which includes private schools, including international, for which it charges student tuition and direct consumer sales. It sells individual online courses and supplemental educational products directly to families.

Career Education Corporation Company Profile

Career Education Corporation, through its colleges, institutions and universities, offers education to students in a range of career-oriented disciplines through online, on-ground and hybrid learning programs. The Company’s American InterContinental University (AIU) and Colorado Technical University (CTU) provide degree programs through the master’s or doctoral level as well as associate and bachelor’s levels. The Company operates through four segments: CTU, AIU, Culinary Arts and Transitional Group. Its University group consists of AIU and CTU, which serve students online with career-focused degree programs. Its Career Colleges Group consists of Culinary Arts and Transitional Group segments. The Culinary Arts segment includes Le Cordon Bleu institutions in North America (LCB), which offer hands-on educational programs in the career-oriented disciplines of culinary arts and patisserie and baking in the commercial-grade kitchens of Le Cordon Bleu.

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