CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE: CNA) and White Mountains Insurance Group (NYSE:WTM) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitabiliy, analyst recommendations, valuation, institutional ownership, risk, earnings and dividends.

Profitability

This table compares CNA Financial Corporation and White Mountains Insurance Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
CNA Financial Corporation 11.72% 8.40% 1.80%
White Mountains Insurance Group 9.80% 1.01% 0.58%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares CNA Financial Corporation and White Mountains Insurance Group’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
CNA Financial Corporation $9.52 billion 1.51 $1.75 billion $4.11 12.94
White Mountains Insurance Group $1.38 billion 2.79 $70.10 million $22.39 38.04

CNA Financial Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than White Mountains Insurance Group. CNA Financial Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than White Mountains Insurance Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

CNA Financial Corporation has a beta of 1.23, suggesting that its stock price is 23% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, White Mountains Insurance Group has a beta of 0.52, suggesting that its stock price is 48% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for CNA Financial Corporation and White Mountains Insurance Group, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
CNA Financial Corporation 0 3 0 0 2.00
White Mountains Insurance Group 0 0 0 0 N/A

CNA Financial Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $45.00, suggesting a potential downside of 15.37%. Given CNA Financial Corporation’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe CNA Financial Corporation is more favorable than White Mountains Insurance Group.

Dividends

CNA Financial Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.9%. White Mountains Insurance Group pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.1%. CNA Financial Corporation pays out 24.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. White Mountains Insurance Group pays out 4.5% 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.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

99.6% of CNA Financial Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 84.0% of White Mountains Insurance Group shares are held by institutional investors. 0.5% of CNA Financial Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 5.1% of White Mountains Insurance Group shares are held 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.

Summary

CNA Financial Corporation beats White Mountains Insurance Group on 9 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About CNA Financial Corporation

CNA Financial Corporation is an insurance holding company. The Company’s segments include Specialty, Commercial, International, Life & Group Non-Core, and Corporate & Other Non-Core. Its Specialty segment provides a range of professional, financial, and specialty property, and casualty products and services. The Commercial segment includes property and casualty insurance products and services to small, middle-market and large businesses. Its International segment provides management and professional liability coverages, as well as a range of other property and casualty insurance products and services. The Life & Group Non-Core segment primarily includes the results of its individual and group long term care businesses that are in run-off. Its Corporate & Other Non-Core segment primarily includes certain corporate expenses, including interest on corporate debt, and the results of certain property and casualty business in run-off.

About White Mountains Insurance Group

White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. is a holding company. The Company’s principal businesses are conducted through its insurance subsidiaries and other affiliates. Its segments include OneBeacon, HG Global/BAM and Other Operations. The OneBeacon segment consists of the operations of OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd. (OneBeacon Ltd.), which owns a family of property and casualty insurance companies, and Split Rock Insurance, Ltd. (Split Rock), a reinsurance company (collectively, OneBeacon). The HG Global/BAM segment consists of the operations of HG Global Ltd. (HG Global) and Build America Mutual Assurance Company (BAM). The Other Operations segment consists of the Company and its intermediate holding companies, its investment management subsidiary, White Mountains Advisors LLC, and certain consolidated and unconsolidated private capital investments. OneBeacon is a specialty property and casualty insurance provider that offers a range of insurance products in the United States.

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