JMP Group (NYSE: JMP) and Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) are both finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, dividends, valuation, institutional ownership, earnings, profitability and risk.

Risk and Volatility

JMP Group has a beta of 0.92, meaning that its stock price is 8% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Lazard has a beta of 1.85, meaning that its stock price is 85% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares JMP Group and Lazard’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
JMP Group -10.35% 1.52% 0.19%
Lazard 17.39% 39.33% 11.16%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for JMP Group and Lazard, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
JMP Group 0 0 0 0 N/A
Lazard 0 3 4 0 2.57

JMP Group presently has a consensus target price of $5.75, suggesting a potential upside of 2.68%. Lazard has a consensus target price of $46.17, suggesting a potential upside of 0.30%. Given JMP Group’s higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe JMP Group is more favorable than Lazard.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares JMP Group and Lazard’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
JMP Group $119.55 million 1.01 -$11.63 million ($0.54) -10.37
Lazard $2.64 billion 2.26 $458.07 million $3.53 13.04

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

13.0% of JMP Group shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 72.2% of Lazard shares are owned by institutional investors. 52.1% of JMP Group shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.5% of Lazard shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

JMP Group pays an annual dividend of $0.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 6.4%. Lazard pays an annual dividend of $1.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. JMP Group pays out -66.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Lazard pays out 46.5% 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. JMP Group has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years and Lazard has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years. JMP Group is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Summary

Lazard beats JMP Group on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About JMP Group

JMP Group LLC, formerly JMP Group, Inc., is a full-service investment banking and asset management firm. The Company operates in five segments: Broker-Dealer, Asset Management, Corporate Credit, Investment Income and Corporate Costs. The Broker-Dealer segment includes a range of services, such as underwriting and acting as a placement agent for public and private capital markets raising transactions and financial advisory services in mergers and acquisitions, restructuring and other strategic transactions. The Asset Management segment includes the management of a range of pooled investment vehicles. The Corporate Credit segment includes the management of collateralized loan obligations and small business loans. The Investment Income segment includes income from the Company’s principal investments in public and private securities.

About Lazard

Lazard Ltd (Lazard) is a financial advisory and asset management company. The Company operates through two segments: Financial Advisory and Asset Management. It serves a range of clients around the world, including corporations, governments, institutions, partnerships and individuals. The Financial Advisory business segment offers corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients across the globe a range of financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising and various other financial matters to corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients. The Asset Management business provides investment solutions and investment management services in equity and fixed income strategies, alternative investments and private equity funds to corporations, public funds and sovereign entities.

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