Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) and Peoples Bancorp (NASDAQ:PEBO) are both financials companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership, valuation, earnings and profitability.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Wells Fargo & Co and Peoples Bancorp’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Wells Fargo & Co $94.18 billion 3.19 $21.94 billion $3.87 15.79
Peoples Bancorp $166.51 million 3.62 $31.15 million $2.02 16.32

Wells Fargo & Co has higher revenue and earnings than Peoples Bancorp. Wells Fargo & Co is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Peoples Bancorp, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

75.7% of Wells Fargo & Co shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 63.5% of Peoples Bancorp shares are held by institutional investors. 0.2% of Wells Fargo & Co shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 3.0% of Peoples Bancorp shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Risk and Volatility

Wells Fargo & Co has a beta of 0.96, suggesting that its share price is 4% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Peoples Bancorp has a beta of 0.73, suggesting that its share price is 27% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Wells Fargo & Co pays an annual dividend of $1.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. Peoples Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.7%. Wells Fargo & Co pays out 40.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Peoples Bancorp pays out 43.6% 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. Wells Fargo & Co has raised its dividend for 5 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares Wells Fargo & Co and Peoples Bancorp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Wells Fargo & Co 22.00% 12.59% 1.16%
Peoples Bancorp 21.10% 7.99% 1.02%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Wells Fargo & Co and Peoples Bancorp, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Wells Fargo & Co 4 12 16 1 2.42
Peoples Bancorp 0 3 0 0 2.00

Wells Fargo & Co presently has a consensus target price of $58.84, suggesting a potential downside of 3.69%. Peoples Bancorp has a consensus target price of $33.50, suggesting a potential upside of 1.64%. Given Peoples Bancorp’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Peoples Bancorp is more favorable than Wells Fargo & Co.

Summary

Wells Fargo & Co beats Peoples Bancorp on 13 of the 18 factors compared between the two stocks.

Wells Fargo & Co Company Profile

Wells Fargo & Company is a bank holding company. The Company is a diversified financial services company. It has three operating segments: Community Banking, Wholesale Banking, and Wealth and Investment Management. The Company offers its services under three categories: personal, small business and commercial. It provides retail, commercial and corporate banking services through banking locations and offices, the Internet and other distribution channels to individuals, businesses and institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and in other countries. It provides other financial services through its subsidiaries engaged in various businesses, including wholesale banking, mortgage banking, consumer finance, equipment leasing, agricultural finance, commercial finance, securities brokerage and investment banking, computer and data processing services, investment advisory services, mortgage-backed securities servicing and venture capital investment.

Peoples Bancorp Company Profile

Peoples Bancorp Inc. is a financial holding company. The Company operates principally through its subsidiary, Peoples Bank. Peoples Bank’s operating subsidiaries include Peoples Insurance Agency, LLC (Peoples Insurance) and two asset management companies, PBNA, L.L.C. and Peoples Tax Credit Equity, LLC. Peoples Investment Company has one subsidiary, Peoples Capital Corporation. The Company offers banking, insurance, investment and trust solutions. Its products and services include various demand deposit accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit; commercial, consumer and real estate mortgage loans (both commercial and residential) and lines of credit; debit and automated teller machine (ATM) cards; credit cards for individuals and businesses; merchant credit card transaction processing services; corporate and personal trust services; a range of life, health and property and casualty insurance products, and brokerage services.

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