Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC) and Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras (NYSE:PBR.A) are both large-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, profitability, dividends and risk.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

2.1% of Ecopetrol shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 4.6% of Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras shares are held by institutional investors. 1.0% of Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for Ecopetrol and Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ecopetrol 0 3 2 0 2.40
Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras 0 0 0 0 N/A

Ecopetrol currently has a consensus price target of $10.33, suggesting a potential upside of 9.35%.


Ecopetrol pays an annual dividend of $0.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.7%. Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras does not pay a dividend. Ecopetrol pays out 36.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Risk and Volatility

Ecopetrol has a beta of 1.04, suggesting that its share price is 4% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras has a beta of 2.65, suggesting that its share price is 165% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Ecopetrol and Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ecopetrol $17.94 billion 1.08 $6.95 billion $0.44 21.48
Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras N/A N/A N/A ($0.47) N/A

Ecopetrol has higher revenue and earnings than Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras. Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Ecopetrol, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


This table compares Ecopetrol and Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ecopetrol 5.04% 3.60% 1.34%
Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras -3.63% 5.00% 1.62%

About Ecopetrol

Ecopetrol S.A. is an oil company. The Company operates in Colombia, Peru, Brazil and the United States Gulf Coast. The Company’s segments include Exploration and Production, Transportation and Logistics, and Refining, Petrochemicals and Biofuels. The Company’s Exploration and Production segment includes exploration, development and production activities in Colombia and abroad. The Company’s Transportation and Logistics segment includes the transportation of crude oil, motor fuels, fuel oil and other refined products, including diesel and biofuels. The Company’s main crude oil pipeline systems’ operating capacity is approximately 1.34 million barrels per day (BPD). The Company’s main refineries are the Barrancabermeja refinery, which it directly owns and operates, and a refinery in the Free Trade Zone in Cartagena that is operated by Reficar S.A., a subsidiary of the Company. The Company also owns and operates two other minor refineries: Orito and Apiay.

About Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.-Petrobras specializes in the oil, natural gas and energy industry. The Company is engaged in prospecting, drilling, refining, processing, trading and transporting crude oil from producing onshore and offshore oil fields and from shale or other rocks. Its segments include Exploration and Production, which covers the activities of exploration, development and production of crude oil, natural gas liquid and natural gas; Refining, Transportation and Marketing, which covers the refining, logistics, transport and trading of crude oil and oil products activities, exporting of ethanol, and extraction and processing of shale; Gas and Power, which is engaged in transportation and trading of natural gas produced in Brazil and imported natural gas; Biofuels, which covers the activities of production of biodiesel and its co-products, and ethanol-related activities; Distribution, which includes the activities of its subsidiary Petrobras Distribuidora S.A., and Corporate.

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