Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL) and HFF (NYSE:HF) are both finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, risk, profitability and valuation.

Profitability

This table compares Jones Lang LaSalle and HFF’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Jones Lang LaSalle 4.14% 12.04% 4.67%
HFF 15.51% 40.20% 8.06%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Jones Lang LaSalle and HFF’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Jones Lang LaSalle $7.31 billion 0.81 $651.60 million $6.62 19.82
HFF $542.82 million 2.96 $84.87 million $2.20 18.91

Jones Lang LaSalle has higher revenue and earnings than HFF. HFF is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Jones Lang LaSalle, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

90.3% of Jones Lang LaSalle shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 87.1% of HFF shares are held by institutional investors. 0.7% of Jones Lang LaSalle shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 5.7% of HFF shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Jones Lang LaSalle and HFF, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Jones Lang LaSalle 0 3 4 0 2.57
HFF 1 2 1 0 2.00

Jones Lang LaSalle presently has a consensus price target of $131.80, indicating a potential upside of 0.43%. HFF has a consensus price target of $28.00, indicating a potential downside of 32.69%. Given Jones Lang LaSalle’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Jones Lang LaSalle is more favorable than HFF.

Volatility and Risk

Jones Lang LaSalle has a beta of 1.8, indicating that its share price is 80% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, HFF has a beta of 1.18, indicating that its share price is 18% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Jones Lang LaSalle pays an annual dividend of $0.70 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. HFF does not pay a dividend. Jones Lang LaSalle pays out 10.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. HFF has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years.

Summary

Jones Lang LaSalle beats HFF on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Jones Lang LaSalle Company Profile

Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) is a financial and professional services company specializing in real estate. The Company operates through four business segments: Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Asia Pacific, and LaSalle. It offers integrated services on a local, regional and global basis to owner, occupier, investor and developer clients. It delivers various real estate services (RES) across three geographic business segments: the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Its RES is organized into five product categories: leasing; capital markets and hotels; property and facility management; project and development services, and advisory, consulting and other services. LaSalle offers clients with real estate investment products and services, such as private investments in multiple real estate property types, including office, industrial, healthcare and multifamily residential. LaSalle enables clients to invest in separate accounts focused on public real estate equities.

HFF Company Profile

HFF, Inc. is a holding company. The Company holds the partnership interests in Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. and HFF Securities L.P. (together, the Operating Partnerships), held through the subsidiary HFF Partnership Holdings, LLC, and all of the outstanding shares of Holliday GP Corp. (Holliday GP). The Company operates through the commercial real estate financial intermediary segment. It offers debt placement, investment sales, distressed debt and real estate owned advisory services, equity placement, investment banking and advisory services, loan sales and commercial loan servicing. Its fully-integrated national capital markets platform, coupled with its knowledge of the commercial real estate markets provides an range of capital markets services, including Debt placement; Investment sales; Distressed debt and real estate owned advisory services; Equity placement; Investment banking and advisory services; Loan sales; and Commercial loan servicing.

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