Builders FirstSource (NASDAQ: BLDR) and Headwaters (NYSE:HW) are both retail/wholesale companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, profitabiliy, analyst recommendations, dividends, risk, valuation and institutional ownership.

Risk and Volatility

Builders FirstSource has a beta of 2.16, meaning that its stock price is 116% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Headwaters has a beta of 1.7, meaning that its stock price is 70% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Builders FirstSource and Headwaters, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Builders FirstSource 0 2 3 0 2.60
Headwaters 1 7 1 0 2.00

Builders FirstSource presently has a consensus price target of $17.00, indicating a potential upside of 1.67%. Headwaters has a consensus price target of $23.44, indicating a potential downside of 3.31%. Given Builders FirstSource’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Builders FirstSource is more favorable than Headwaters.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Builders FirstSource and Headwaters’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Builders FirstSource $6.50 billion 0.29 $361.71 million $1.52 11.00
Headwaters N/A N/A N/A $0.56 43.29

Builders FirstSource has higher revenue and earnings than Headwaters. Builders FirstSource is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Headwaters, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


This table compares Builders FirstSource and Headwaters’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Builders FirstSource 2.60% 45.79% 4.77%
Headwaters 1.98% 5.96% 1.68%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

84.8% of Builders FirstSource shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 86.8% of Headwaters shares are owned by institutional investors. 14.6% of Builders FirstSource shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 6.4% of Headwaters shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.


Builders FirstSource beats Headwaters on 10 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Builders FirstSource

Builders FirstSource, Inc. is a supplier and manufacturer of building materials, manufactured components and construction services to professional contractors, sub-contractors, remodelers and consumers. The Company’s operating segments include Northeast, Southeast, South and West. As of December 31, 2016, it operated at 400 locations in 40 states across the United States. It offers an integrated solution to its customers providing manufacturing, supply and installation of a range of structural and related building products. Its manufactured products include factory-built roof and floor trusses, wall panels and stairs, vinyl windows, custom millwork and trim, as well as engineered wood that it designs, cuts and assembles for each home. It assembles interior and exterior doors into pre-hung units. Additionally, it supplies customers with offering of professional grade building products, such as dimensional lumber and lumber sheet goods, and various window, door and millwork lines.

About Headwaters

Headwaters Incorporated is a building materials company operating in the building products and construction materials sectors. The Company sells building products, such as manufactured architectural stone, siding accessory products, roof products and concrete block. The Company’s operating segments include building products, construction materials and energy technology. It also markets coal combustion products (CCPs), including fly ash, which is used as a partial replacement for Portland cement in concrete. The Building Products segment is engaged in designing, manufacturing and marketing of siding accessories used in residential repair and remodeling, and new residential construction applications. The Materials segment markets fly ash in the construction materials sector. The Energy Technology segment is involved in heavy oil upgrading processes through the sale of its HCAT catalyst material. It sells catalytic materials to certain refineries engaged in heavy oil upgrading.

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