Questar (NYSE: STR) and Spire (NYSE:SR) are both utilities companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, institutional ownership, profitabiliy, risk, earnings, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Volatility & Risk

Questar has a beta of 0.51, meaning that its share price is 49% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Spire has a beta of 0.33, meaning that its share price is 67% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Questar and Spire’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Questar 19.01% 9.76% 3.19%
Spire 9.12% 8.77% 2.63%

Dividends

Questar pays an annual dividend of $0.88 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.5%. Spire pays an annual dividend of $2.10 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.8%. Questar pays out 79.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Spire pays out 60.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Questar has raised its dividend for 37 consecutive years. Questar is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

78.9% of Questar shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 74.7% of Spire shares are held by institutional investors. 0.4% of Questar shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 3.1% of Spire shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Questar and Spire’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Questar N/A N/A N/A $1.11 22.58
Spire $1.76 billion 2.06 $462.00 million $3.49 21.58

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

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Questar and Spire, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Questar 0 1 0 0 2.00
Spire 1 4 1 0 2.00

Questar presently has a consensus price target of $25.00, suggesting a potential downside of 0.24%. Spire has a consensus price target of $69.60, suggesting a potential downside of 7.57%. Given Questar’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Questar is more favorable than Spire.

Summary

Questar beats Spire on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Questar

Dominion Questar Corp, formerly Questar Corporation, is an integrated natural gas holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries is principally engaged in three lines of business, which include Questar Gas Company (Questar Gas), which provides retail natural gas distribution in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho; Wexpro Company (Wexpro), which develops and produces natural gas from cost-of-service reserves for Questar Gas customers, and Questar Pipeline Company, which operates interstate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities in the western the United States and provides other energy services. The Company is also engaged in Corporate and Other operations, which include Questar Fueling Company (Questar Fueling) that builds, owns and operates compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations for fleet operators with medium- and heavy-duty trucks and tractors. Questar Gas distributes gas to customers along the Wasatch Front, Provo, Salt Lake, Ogden and other areas in Utah.

About Spire

Spire Inc., formerly The Laclede Group, Inc., is engaged to transform its business and pursue growth by growing its gas utility business through prudent investment in infrastructure upgrades and organic growth initiatives; acquire and integrate gas utilities; modernize its gas assets, and invest in innovation. The Company has two business segments, which include gas utility and gas marketing. The gas utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas Company (Laclede Gas), Alabama Gas Corporation (Alagasco) and EnergySouth, Inc. (EnergySouth). The gas marketing segment includes Laclede Energy Resources, Inc. (LER), a subsidiary engaged in the marketing of natural gas and related activities on a non-regulated basis. Laclede Gas is engaged in the purchase, retail distribution and sale of natural gas, serving residential, commercial and industrial customers, through Missouri Gas Energy (MGE), Kansas City and western Missouri.

Receive News & Ratings for Questar Co. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Questar Co. and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.