tronc (NASDAQ: TRNC) and Lee Enterprises, (NYSE:LEE) are both small-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, valuation, analyst recommendations, profitability, earnings, dividends and institutional ownership.

Volatility and Risk

tronc has a beta of 1.77, suggesting that its share price is 77% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Lee Enterprises, has a beta of 2.18, suggesting that its share price is 118% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and target prices for tronc and Lee Enterprises,, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
tronc 0 0 1 0 3.00
Lee Enterprises, 0 0 0 0 N/A

tronc presently has a consensus price target of $21.00, suggesting a potential upside of 56.95%. Given tronc’s higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe tronc is more favorable than Lee Enterprises,.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

37.5% of tronc shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 33.5% of Lee Enterprises, shares are owned by institutional investors. 41.2% of tronc shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 7.3% of Lee Enterprises, shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares tronc and Lee Enterprises,’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
tronc 0.83% 63.98% 6.08%
Lee Enterprises, 4.30% -16.83% 2.88%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares tronc and Lee Enterprises,’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
tronc $1.54 billion 0.29 $125.61 million $0.37 36.16
Lee Enterprises, $574.91 million 0.21 $132.35 million $0.45 4.78

Lee Enterprises, has higher revenue, but lower earnings than tronc. Lee Enterprises, is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than tronc, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

tronc beats Lee Enterprises, on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About tronc

tronc, Inc., formerly Tribune Publishing Company, is a media company. As of December 25, 2016, the Company operated over 150 titles in nine markets. Its portfolio of news and information brands are in markets, including Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Chicago, Illinois; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Hartford, Connecticut; Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Newport News, Virginia. The Company also offers an array of customized marketing solutions, and publishes a number of niche products, including Hoy and El Sentinel. troncM’s media groups include the Chicago Tribune Media Group, the Los Angeles Times Media Group, the San Diego Media Group, the Sun Sentinel Media Group, the Orlando Sentinel Media Group, The Baltimore Sun Media Group, the Morning Call Media Group and the Daily Press Media Group. troncX consists of the Company’s digital revenues and related digital expenses from more than 130 digital platforms online and mobile applications.

About Lee Enterprises,

Lee Enterprises, Incorporated is a provider of local news and information, and a platform for print and digital advertising. The Company’s products included 46 daily and 34 Sunday newspapers, 300 weekly newspapers, and classified and niche publications, as of September 25, 2016. The Company also provides a range of digital products, including video, digital couponing, behavioral targeting, audience retargeting, banner advertisements and social networking. It provides digital marketing services to small and midsized businesses (SMBs), including search engine marketing (SEM), social media, audience extension, business profiles, and Website hosting and design. It offers small business solutions, including search engine optimization (SEO), local online marketing, social media marketing, video advertising and Website design. The markets it caters to are located primarily in the Midwest, Mountain West and West regions of the United States.

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