Loews Corporation (NYSE: L) and EMC Insurance Group (NASDAQ:EMCI) are both finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, analyst recommendations, dividends, valuation, risk, institutional ownership and earnings.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Loews Corporation and EMC Insurance Group, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Loews Corporation 1 1 0 0 1.50
EMC Insurance Group 0 0 0 0 N/A

Loews Corporation currently has a consensus price target of $39.00, indicating a potential downside of 15.16%. Given Loews Corporation’s higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Loews Corporation is more favorable than EMC Insurance Group.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

58.6% of Loews Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 28.2% of EMC Insurance Group shares are held by institutional investors. 11.8% of Loews Corporation shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 4.5% of EMC Insurance Group shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Risk & Volatility

Loews Corporation has a beta of 0.71, indicating that its share price is 29% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, EMC Insurance Group has a beta of 0.94, indicating that its share price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Loews Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.25 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. EMC Insurance Group pays an annual dividend of $0.84 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.0%. Loews Corporation pays out 7.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. EMC Insurance Group pays out 46.9% 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.

Profitability

This table compares Loews Corporation and EMC Insurance Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Loews Corporation 8.44% 4.84% 1.47%
EMC Insurance Group 5.87% 5.66% 1.98%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Loews Corporation and EMC Insurance Group’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Loews Corporation $13.28 billion 1.17 $3.33 billion $3.32 13.85
EMC Insurance Group $649.90 million 0.91 $38.22 million $1.79 15.44

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

Summary

Loews Corporation beats EMC Insurance Group on 9 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Loews Corporation

Loews Corporation is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in commercial property and casualty insurance; operation of offshore oil and gas drilling rigs; transportation and storage of natural gas and natural gas liquids, and operation of a chain of hotels. The Company has five segments consisted of its four individual operating subsidiaries, CNA Financial Corporation (CNA), Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (Diamond Offshore), Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP (Boardwalk Pipeline) and Loews Hotels Holding Corporation (Loews Hotels), and the Corporate segment. CNA’s insurance products include commercial property and casualty coverages, including surety. CNA’s services include risk management, information services, warranty and claims administration. CNA’s core business, commercial property and casualty insurance operations include Specialty, Commercial and International lines of business.

About EMC Insurance Group

EMC Insurance Group Inc. is an insurance holding company. The Company operates through two segments: Property and Casualty Insurance and Reinsurance segment. It conducts its property and casualty insurance operations through its subsidiaries, including EMCASCO Insurance Company, Illinois EMCASCO Insurance Company and Dakota Fire Insurance Company, and its reinsurance operations through its subsidiary, EMC Reinsurance Company. The Company focuses on the sale of commercial lines of property and casualty insurance to small and medium-sized businesses. The Company offered its insurance products in 41 states, as of December 31, 2016. The Company is owned by Employers Mutual Casualty Company (Employers Mutual), a multiple-line property and casualty insurance company. The Company’s insurance agency, EMC Underwriters, LLC (EMC Underwriters), specializes in marketing excess and surplus lines of insurance.

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