Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ: MARA) and Covanta Holding Corporation (NYSE:CVA) are both finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, risk, institutional ownership, profitability, earnings, dividends and valuation.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

7.3% of Marathon Patent Group shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 96.2% of Covanta Holding Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.0% of Marathon Patent Group shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 11.6% of Covanta Holding Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk and Volatility

Marathon Patent Group has a beta of 0.38, suggesting that its stock price is 62% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Covanta Holding Corporation has a beta of 0.71, suggesting that its stock price is 29% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Marathon Patent Group and Covanta Holding Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Marathon Patent Group 0 0 1 0 3.00
Covanta Holding Corporation 1 0 6 0 2.71

Marathon Patent Group presently has a consensus price target of $3.00, indicating a potential upside of 654.34%. Covanta Holding Corporation has a consensus price target of $17.07, indicating a potential upside of 10.85%. Given Marathon Patent Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Marathon Patent Group is more favorable than Covanta Holding Corporation.

Profitability

This table compares Marathon Patent Group and Covanta Holding Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Marathon Patent Group -5,770.02% -1,139.06% -175.07%
Covanta Holding Corporation -1.41% -9.81% -0.96%

Dividends

Covanta Holding Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 6.5%. Marathon Patent Group does not pay a dividend. Covanta Holding Corporation pays out -526.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Marathon Patent Group and Covanta Holding Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Marathon Patent Group $666,774.00 14.47 -$10.40 million ($2.45) -0.16
Covanta Holding Corporation $1.71 billion 1.17 $296.00 million ($0.19) -81.05

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

Summary

Covanta Holding Corporation beats Marathon Patent Group on 12 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Marathon Patent Group Company Profile

Marathon Patent Group Inc. (MARA) is engaged in acquiring patents and patent rights from owners or other ventures. The Company monetizes its portfolio of patents and patent rights by entering into license discussions. The Company owns around 378 United States and foreign patents, and patent rights across a range of technologies and markets. The Company owns around 22 patent applications across a range of technologies and markets.

Covanta Holding Corporation Company Profile

Covanta Holding Corporation is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates infrastructure for the conversion of waste to energy, as well as other waste disposal and renewable energy production businesses. The Company operates through North America segment, which consists of waste and energy services operations located primarily in the United States and Canada. Outside of North America, the Company is constructing an energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Dublin, Ireland. The Company holds interests in an EfW facility in Italy and an infrastructure business in China, which is engaged in EfW operations. These EfW projects generate revenue from three main sources: fees charged for operating projects or processing waste received; the sale of electricity and/or steam, and the sale of ferrous and non-ferrous metals that are recovered from the waste stream as part of the EfW process.

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