CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE: CNA) and Loews Corporation (NYSE:L) are both large-cap finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, profitability, valuation, risk, earnings and dividends.

Volatility & Risk

CNA Financial Corporation has a beta of 1.34, suggesting that its share price is 34% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Loews Corporation has a beta of 0.75, suggesting that its share price is 25% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

99.9% of CNA Financial Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 58.8% of Loews Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 0.5% of CNA Financial Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 11.8% of Loews Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares CNA Financial Corporation and Loews Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
CNA Financial Corporation 9.67% 7.14% 1.53%
Loews Corporation 7.04% 4.08% 1.25%

Dividends

CNA Financial Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.2%. Loews Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.25 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. CNA Financial Corporation pays out 35.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Loews Corporation pays out 8.7% 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.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares CNA Financial Corporation and Loews Corporation’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
CNA Financial Corporation $9.37 billion 1.59 $859.00 million $3.38 16.27
Loews Corporation $13.11 billion 1.27 $654.00 million $2.88 17.23

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for CNA Financial Corporation and Loews Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
CNA Financial Corporation 0 3 0 0 2.00
Loews Corporation 1 0 0 0 1.00

CNA Financial Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $46.67, indicating a potential downside of 15.12%. Loews Corporation has a consensus target price of $35.00, indicating a potential downside of 29.45%. Given CNA Financial Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts clearly believe CNA Financial Corporation is more favorable than Loews Corporation.

Summary

CNA Financial Corporation beats Loews Corporation on 12 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

CNA Financial Corporation Company Profile

CNA Financial Corporation is an insurance holding company. The Company’s segments include Specialty, Commercial, International, Life & Group Non-Core, and Corporate & Other Non-Core. Its Specialty segment provides a range of professional, financial, and specialty property, and casualty products and services. The Commercial segment includes property and casualty insurance products and services to small, middle-market and large businesses. Its International segment provides management and professional liability coverages, as well as a range of other property and casualty insurance products and services. The Life & Group Non-Core segment primarily includes the results of its individual and group long term care businesses that are in run-off. Its Corporate & Other Non-Core segment primarily includes certain corporate expenses, including interest on corporate debt, and the results of certain property and casualty business in run-off.

Loews Corporation Company Profile

Loews Corporation is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in commercial property and casualty insurance; operation of offshore oil and gas drilling rigs; transportation and storage of natural gas and natural gas liquids, and operation of a chain of hotels. The Company has five segments consisted of its four individual operating subsidiaries, CNA Financial Corporation (CNA), Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (Diamond Offshore), Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP (Boardwalk Pipeline) and Loews Hotels Holding Corporation (Loews Hotels), and the Corporate segment. CNA’s insurance products include commercial property and casualty coverages, including surety. CNA’s services include risk management, information services, warranty and claims administration. CNA’s core business, commercial property and casualty insurance operations include Specialty, Commercial and International lines of business.

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