Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE: WRE) and Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, risk, profitabiliy, institutional ownership, earnings, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.7%. Cousins Properties pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.7%. Washington Real Estate Investment Trust pays out 71.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Cousins Properties pays out 114.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Cousins Properties has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years. Washington Real Estate Investment Trust is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Washington Real Estate Investment Trust and Cousins Properties’ gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust $313.63 million 7.85 $179.06 million $1.67 19.20
Cousins Properties $333.43 million 11.13 $186.02 million $0.21 42.19

Cousins Properties has higher revenue and earnings than Washington Real Estate Investment Trust. Washington Real Estate Investment Trust is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Cousins Properties, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust has a beta of 0.95, indicating that its share price is 5% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Cousins Properties has a beta of 1.06, indicating that its share price is 6% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Washington Real Estate Investment Trust and Cousins Properties, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust 0 2 3 0 2.60
Cousins Properties 0 1 1 0 2.50

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust currently has a consensus target price of $34.10, indicating a potential upside of 6.36%. Cousins Properties has a consensus target price of $9.00, indicating a potential upside of 1.58%. Given Washington Real Estate Investment Trust’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe Washington Real Estate Investment Trust is more favorable than Cousins Properties.

Profitability

This table compares Washington Real Estate Investment Trust and Cousins Properties’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust 39.41% 11.93% 5.45%
Cousins Properties 14.48% 3.11% 1.93%

Insider and Institutional Ownership

83.1% of Washington Real Estate Investment Trust shares are held by institutional investors. 0.6% of Washington Real Estate Investment Trust shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.1% of Cousins Properties shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust beats Cousins Properties on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust Company Profile

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust is a self-administered equity real estate investment trust. The Company’s business consists of the ownership and operation of real property in the greater Washington metro region. The Company owns a diversified portfolio of office buildings, multifamily buildings and retail centers. The Company’s segments include office, multifamily and retail. The Company’s office properties provide office space for various types of businesses and professions. The Company’s multifamily properties provide rental housing for individuals and families throughout the Washington metro region. Its retail properties are typically grocery store anchored neighborhood centers that include other small shop tenants or regional power centers with various junior box tenants. As of April 4, 2017, it owned a diversified portfolio of 50 properties, totaling approximately 6.0 million square feet of commercial space and 4,480 residential units, and land held for development.

Cousins Properties Company Profile

Cousins Properties Incorporated is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust. The Company’s segments include Office, Mixed-Use, Other, Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix and Other. It develops, acquires, leases, manages and owns primarily Class A office properties and opportunistic mixed-use developments in Sunbelt markets with a focus on Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. It manages a 15.8 million-square-foot trophy office portfolio in the Sun Belt markets of Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa and Tempe. As of December 31, 2016, its portfolio of real estate assets consisted of interests in 16.2 million square feet of office space and 786,000 square feet of mixed-use space. The Company, through Cousins TRS Services LLC, owns and manages its own real estate portfolio and performs certain real estate related services for other parties. Its properties include Colorado Tower, 816 Congress, Promenade and Gateway Village.

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