Willdan Group (NASDAQ: WLDN) and Huron Consulting Group (NASDAQ:HURN) are both small-cap construction companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, risk, institutional ownership, earnings, dividends, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Profitability

This table compares Willdan Group and Huron Consulting Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Willdan Group 3.90% 18.10% 8.73%
Huron Consulting Group -17.09% 7.50% 3.83%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Willdan Group and Huron Consulting Group, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Willdan Group 0 0 3 0 3.00
Huron Consulting Group 0 2 3 0 2.60

Willdan Group currently has a consensus target price of $37.67, suggesting a potential upside of 47.65%. Huron Consulting Group has a consensus target price of $48.00, suggesting a potential upside of 18.52%. Given Willdan Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, research analysts clearly believe Willdan Group is more favorable than Huron Consulting Group.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Willdan Group and Huron Consulting Group’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Willdan Group $208.94 million 1.07 $8.29 million $1.15 22.18
Huron Consulting Group $797.98 million 1.12 $37.61 million ($6.35) -6.38

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

Institutional and Insider Ownership

66.1% of Willdan Group shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 89.6% of Huron Consulting Group shares are owned by institutional investors. 13.3% of Willdan Group shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 2.7% of Huron Consulting Group shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Risk and Volatility

Willdan Group has a beta of 1.12, meaning that its share price is 12% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Huron Consulting Group has a beta of 0.12, meaning that its share price is 88% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Willdan Group beats Huron Consulting Group on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Willdan Group

Willdan Group, Inc. is a holding company. The Company provides professional technical and consulting services to utilities, private industry and public agencies at all levels of government, primarily in California and New York. It operates through four segments: Energy Efficiency Services, Engineering Services, Public Finance Services and Homeland Security Services. The Energy Efficiency Services segment provides energy efficiency consulting services to utilities, state agencies, municipalities, private industry and non-profit organizations. The Engineering Services segment offers a range of engineering and planning services to its public and private sector clients. The Public Finance Services segment provides support for the various financing techniques employed by public agencies to finance their operations and infrastructure. The Homeland Security Services segment provides national preparedness, homeland security consulting, public safety and emergency response services.

About Huron Consulting Group

Huron Consulting Group Inc. is a global professional services firm. The Company offers solutions in operations, advisory services, technology and analytics for healthcare, higher education, life sciences and commercial sectors. The Company’s segments include Healthcare, Education and Life Sciences, and Business Advisory. Its Healthcare segment provides advisory services, from strategy setting through implementation, in the areas of organizational and resource alignment, clinical transformation, financial and operational performance, patient and caregiver engagement, and technology implementation and optimization. Its Education and Life Sciences segment provides management consulting and technology solutions to the higher education and academic medical centers, pharmaceutical and medical device, biotechnology and research industries. The Business Advisory segment’s primary service lines include Enterprise Solutions and Analytics, and Business Advisory.

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