Lee Enterprises, (NYSE: LEE) and tronc (NASDAQ:TRNC) are both small-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, dividends, risk, earnings, profitabiliy and valuation.

Risk & Volatility

Lee Enterprises, has a beta of 2.18, indicating that its stock price is 118% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, tronc has a beta of 1.77, indicating that its stock price is 77% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Lee Enterprises, and tronc’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Lee Enterprises, $586.50 million 0.19 $133.05 million $0.45 4.44
tronc $1.54 billion 0.29 $138.91 million $0.37 36.51

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

Profitability

This table compares Lee Enterprises, and tronc’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Lee Enterprises, 4.30% -16.83% 2.88%
tronc 0.83% 63.98% 6.08%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

33.5% of Lee Enterprises, shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 37.4% of tronc shares are held by institutional investors. 7.9% of Lee Enterprises, shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 41.2% of tronc shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Lee Enterprises, and tronc, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Lee Enterprises, 0 0 0 0 N/A
tronc 0 0 1 0 3.00

tronc has a consensus target price of $21.00, suggesting a potential upside of 55.44%. Given tronc’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe tronc is more favorable than Lee Enterprises,.

Summary

tronc beats Lee Enterprises, on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Lee Enterprises,

Lee Enterprises, Incorporated is a provider of local news and information, and a platform for print and digital advertising. The Company’s products included 46 daily and 34 Sunday newspapers, 300 weekly newspapers, and classified and niche publications, as of September 25, 2016. The Company also provides a range of digital products, including video, digital couponing, behavioral targeting, audience retargeting, banner advertisements and social networking. It provides digital marketing services to small and midsized businesses (SMBs), including search engine marketing (SEM), social media, audience extension, business profiles, and Website hosting and design. It offers small business solutions, including search engine optimization (SEO), local online marketing, social media marketing, video advertising and Website design. The markets it caters to are located primarily in the Midwest, Mountain West and West regions of the United States.

About tronc

tronc, Inc., formerly Tribune Publishing Company, is a media company. As of December 25, 2016, the Company operated over 150 titles in nine markets. Its portfolio of news and information brands are in markets, including Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Chicago, Illinois; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Hartford, Connecticut; Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Newport News, Virginia. The Company also offers an array of customized marketing solutions, and publishes a number of niche products, including Hoy and El Sentinel. troncM’s media groups include the Chicago Tribune Media Group, the Los Angeles Times Media Group, the San Diego Media Group, the Sun Sentinel Media Group, the Orlando Sentinel Media Group, The Baltimore Sun Media Group, the Morning Call Media Group and the Daily Press Media Group. troncX consists of the Company’s digital revenues and related digital expenses from more than 130 digital platforms online and mobile applications.

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