Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) and Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) are both large-cap utilities companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, dividends, profitability, earnings, analyst recommendations and risk.

Dividends

Duke Energy Corporation pays an annual dividend of $3.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.0%. Exelon Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.31 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. Duke Energy Corporation pays out 105.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Exelon Corporation pays out 68.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Duke Energy Corporation has raised its dividend for 10 consecutive years. Duke Energy Corporation is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

56.2% of Duke Energy Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 77.3% of Exelon Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 0.1% of Duke Energy Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of Exelon Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Duke Energy Corporation and Exelon Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Duke Energy Corporation 1 11 2 0 2.07
Exelon Corporation 1 3 11 0 2.67

Duke Energy Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $85.85, indicating a potential downside of 2.39%. Exelon Corporation has a consensus target price of $40.65, indicating a potential upside of 1.00%. Given Exelon Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Exelon Corporation is more favorable than Duke Energy Corporation.

Profitability

This table compares Duke Energy Corporation and Exelon Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Duke Energy Corporation 9.89% 7.72% 2.38%
Exelon Corporation 5.41% 8.47% 2.06%

Risk and Volatility

Duke Energy Corporation has a beta of 0.24, meaning that its stock price is 76% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Exelon Corporation has a beta of 0.29, meaning that its stock price is 71% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Duke Energy Corporation and Exelon Corporation’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Duke Energy Corporation $23.07 billion 2.67 $10.44 billion $3.37 26.10
Exelon Corporation $33.26 billion 1.16 $9.49 billion $1.91 21.07

Duke Energy Corporation has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Exelon Corporation. Exelon Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Duke Energy Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Exelon Corporation beats Duke Energy Corporation on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Duke Energy Corporation Company Profile

Duke Energy Corporation (Duke Energy) is an energy company. The Company operates through three segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure; Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Company operates in the United States through its direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment provides retail electric service through the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 7.5 million customers within the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States. The operations include electricity sold wholesale to municipalities, electric cooperative utilities and other load-serving entities. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure segment serves residential, commercial, industrial and power generation natural gas customers. The Commercial Renewables primarily acquires, builds, develops and operates wind and solar renewable generation throughout the continental United States.

Exelon Corporation Company Profile

Exelon Corporation is a utility services holding company. The Company, through its subsidiary, Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Generation), is engaged in the energy generation business. The Company, through its subsidiaries, Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd), PECO Energy Company (PECO), Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), Pepco Holdings LLC (PHI), Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco), Delmarva Power & Light Company (DPL) and Atlantic City Electric Company (ACE), is engaged in the energy delivery businesses. It operates through 12 segments: Generation’s six segments: Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, New York, ERCOT and Other Power Regions; ComEd; PECO; BGE, and PHI’s three utility segments: Pepco, DPL and ACE. Generation’s integrated business consists of the generation, physical delivery and marketing of power across geographical regions through its customer-facing business, Constellation, which sells electricity and natural gas to both wholesale and retail customers.

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