Granite Construction (NYSE: GVA) and Argan (NYSE:AGX) are both small-cap construction companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, institutional ownership, earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations, risk and valuation.

Dividends

Granite Construction pays an annual dividend of $0.52 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.1%. Argan pays an annual dividend of $0.70 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.2%. Granite Construction pays out 48.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Argan pays out 13.9% 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. Argan is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Profitability

This table compares Granite Construction and Argan’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Granite Construction 1.61% 4.80% 2.49%
Argan 10.15% 27.78% 13.15%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

94.4% of Granite Construction shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 83.5% of Argan shares are held by institutional investors. 1.3% of Granite Construction shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 7.6% of Argan shares are held 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.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Granite Construction and Argan’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Granite Construction $2.70 billion 0.73 $126.96 million $1.07 46.25
Argan $775.19 million 1.21 $126.79 million $5.05 12.00

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

Volatility and Risk

Granite Construction has a beta of 1.2, suggesting that its share price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Argan has a beta of 0.91, suggesting that its share price is 9% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Granite Construction and Argan, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Granite Construction 0 1 6 0 2.86
Argan 0 2 1 0 2.33

Granite Construction presently has a consensus price target of $63.67, suggesting a potential upside of 28.65%. Argan has a consensus price target of $71.00, suggesting a potential upside of 17.16%. Given Granite Construction’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Granite Construction is more favorable than Argan.

Granite Construction Company Profile

Granite Construction Incorporated is a heavy civil contractor and construction materials producer in the United States. The Company operates through three segments: Construction, Large Project Construction and Construction Materials. The Company operates across the nation, serving both public and private sector clients. Within the public sector, it concentrates on heavy-civil infrastructure projects, including the construction of streets, roads, highways, mass transit facilities, airport infrastructure, bridges, trenchless and underground utilities, power-related facilities, water and wastewater facilities, utilities, tunnels, dams and other infrastructure-related projects. Within the private sector, the Company offers site preparation and infrastructure services for residential development, energy development, commercial and industrial sites, and other facilities, as well as provides construction management professional services.

Argan Company Profile

Argan, Inc. is a holding company. The Company conducts operations through its subsidiaries, Gemma Power Systems, LLC and affiliates (GPS), Atlantic Projects Company Limited (APC), Southern Maryland Cable, Inc. (SMC) and The Roberts Company (Roberts). Through GPS and APC, the Company’s power industry services segment provides engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations management, maintenance, development, technical and consulting services to the power generation and renewable energy markets. Through SMC, the telecommunications infrastructure services segment of the Company provides project management, construction, installation and maintenance services to commercial, local government and federal government customers. Through Roberts, the Company’s industrial fabrication and field services segment produces, delivers and installs fabricated steel components specializing in pressure vessels and heat exchangers for industrial plants.

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