NBT Bancorp (NASDAQ: NBTB) and First Niagara Financial Group (NASDAQ:FNFG) are both finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, dividends, earnings, profitabiliy, risk and institutional ownership.

Volatility & Risk

NBT Bancorp has a beta of 0.88, meaning that its share price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, First Niagara Financial Group has a beta of 0.94, meaning that its share price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares NBT Bancorp and First Niagara Financial Group’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
NBT Bancorp $359.49 million 4.33 $81.08 million $1.86 19.19
First Niagara Financial Group N/A N/A N/A $0.49 20.78

NBT Bancorp has higher revenue and earnings than First Niagara Financial Group. NBT Bancorp is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than First Niagara Financial Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

49.9% of NBT Bancorp shares are held by institutional investors. 2.8% of NBT Bancorp shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares NBT Bancorp and First Niagara Financial Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
NBT Bancorp 19.68% 8.81% 0.91%
First Niagara Financial Group 14.04% 4.06% 0.47%

Dividends

NBT Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.92 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. First Niagara Financial Group pays an annual dividend of $0.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.1%. NBT Bancorp pays out 49.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. First Niagara Financial Group pays out 65.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for NBT Bancorp and First Niagara Financial Group, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
NBT Bancorp 1 2 0 0 1.67
First Niagara Financial Group 0 0 0 0 N/A

NBT Bancorp currently has a consensus target price of $35.67, indicating a potential downside of 0.09%. Given NBT Bancorp’s higher probable upside, equities analysts plainly believe NBT Bancorp is more favorable than First Niagara Financial Group.

Summary

NBT Bancorp beats First Niagara Financial Group on 9 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

About NBT Bancorp

NBT Bancorp Inc. is a financial holding company. The Company conducts its business through NBT Bank, National Association (the Bank) and also through its other subsidiaries, which includes providing commercial banking and financial services to customers in its market area, including central and upstate New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Hampshire, western Massachusetts, Vermont and Portland, Maine area. The Bank is a commercial bank, which provides a range of financial products to individuals, corporations and municipalities. The Bank offers deposit products, which include demand deposit accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, money market deposit accounts and certificate of deposit accounts. It offers loan products, which include consumer loans, home equity loans, mortgages and commercial loans. The Bank offers other products and services, such as trust and investment services, and financial planning and life insurance services through its branch network.

About First Niagara Financial Group

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. is a bank holding company for First Niagara Bank, N.A. (the Bank). The Bank is engaged in providing financial services to individuals and businesses in New York, Western and Eastern Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Western Massachusetts. The Bank is a nationally chartered regional bank providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses. The Bank operates through two segments: banking and financial services. The banking segment includes all of its retail and commercial banking operations. The financial services segment includes its insurance operations. Its financial services activities consist predominantly of insurance sales. Its financial services activities consist of insurance sales. The Bank provides a range of products and services through its retail consumer, commercial, business services and wealth management operations, including retail banking, cash management, insurance and wealth management products.

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