PICO Holdings (NASDAQ: PICO) and PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM) are both finance companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, profitabiliy, institutional ownership, risk, dividends, valuation and earnings.

Volatility & Risk

PICO Holdings has a beta of 1.25, meaning that its share price is 25% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, PulteGroup has a beta of 1.15, meaning that its share price is 15% more volatile than the S&P 500.


This table compares PICO Holdings and PulteGroup’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
PICO Holdings -3.26% -1.79% -1.14%
PulteGroup 7.77% 12.74% 6.07%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for PICO Holdings and PulteGroup, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
PICO Holdings 0 0 0 0 N/A
PulteGroup 1 5 6 0 2.42

PulteGroup has a consensus price target of $24.60, indicating a potential upside of 1.28%. Given PulteGroup’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe PulteGroup is more favorable than PICO Holdings.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares PICO Holdings and PulteGroup’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
PICO Holdings $383.39 million 1.01 -$181,999.00 ($0.46) -36.63
PulteGroup $7.86 billion 0.98 $1.05 billion $1.82 13.35

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

63.3% of PICO Holdings shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 87.5% of PulteGroup shares are owned by institutional investors. 4.7% of PICO Holdings shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of PulteGroup shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.


PulteGroup pays an annual dividend of $0.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.5%. PICO Holdings does not pay a dividend. PulteGroup pays out 19.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. PICO Holdings has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years.


PulteGroup beats PICO Holdings on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

PICO Holdings Company Profile

PICO Holdings, Inc. (PICO) is a holding company. The Company’s segments include Water Resource and Water Storage Operations; Real Estate Operations, and Corporate. Its subsidiary, Vidler Water Company, Inc. (Vidler), owns water resources and water storage operations in the southwestern United States, with assets and operations in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. The Real Estate Operations are conducted through UCP, Inc. (UCP), which is a homebuilder and land developer in markets located in California, Washington State, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Corporate segment includes its investments in small businesses, typically venture capital-type situations. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned a membership interest in, and was the managing partner of, Fish Springs Ranch, LLC (FSR), which owned the Fish Springs Ranch and other properties totaling approximately 7,313 acres in Honey Lake Valley in Washoe County, approximately 40 miles north of Reno, Nevada.

PulteGroup Company Profile

PulteGroup, Inc. is a homebuilder in the United States. The Company’s segments include Homebuilding and Financial Services. Its Homebuilding operations are engaged in the acquisition and development of land primarily for residential purposes within the United States and the construction of housing on such land. Its Financial Services operations consist principally of mortgage banking and title operations. The Company conducts its financial services business, through Pulte Mortgage LLC (Pulte Mortgage) and other subsidiaries. Pulte Mortgage arranges financing through the origination of mortgage loans. The Company’s subsidiaries are engaged in the homebuilding business. It offers a product line to meet the needs of homebuyers in its focused markets. Through its brands, which include Centex, Pulte Homes, Del Webb, DiVosta Homes, and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, the Company offers a range of home designs, including single-family detached, townhouses, condominiums and duplexes.

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