Neustar (NYSE: NSR) and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) are both telecommunications services companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, profitability, valuation, institutional ownership and earnings.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

88.8% of Neustar shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 62.2% of Verizon Communications shares are held by institutional investors. 2.9% of Neustar shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.1% of Verizon Communications shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Neustar and Verizon Communications, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Neustar 0 3 0 0 2.00
Verizon Communications 0 20 5 0 2.20

Neustar currently has a consensus target price of $29.50, suggesting a potential downside of 11.94%. Verizon Communications has a consensus target price of $53.02, suggesting a potential upside of 10.78%. Given Verizon Communications’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Verizon Communications is more favorable than Neustar.

Volatility and Risk

Neustar has a beta of 1.37, indicating that its stock price is 37% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Verizon Communications has a beta of 0.56, indicating that its stock price is 44% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Verizon Communications pays an annual dividend of $2.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.9%. Neustar does not pay a dividend. Verizon Communications pays out 60.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Verizon Communications has raised its dividend for 10 consecutive years.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Neustar and Verizon Communications’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Neustar N/A N/A N/A $3.27 10.24
Verizon Communications $123.64 billion 1.58 $43.95 billion $3.90 12.27

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

Profitability

This table compares Neustar and Verizon Communications’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Neustar 15.50% 19.28% 8.80%
Verizon Communications 12.88% 63.06% 6.27%

Summary

Verizon Communications beats Neustar on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Neustar

NeuStar, Inc. is a global information services provider. The Company’s cloud-based platforms and differentiated data sets offer informative, real-time analytics, which enable clients to make actionable, data-driven decisions. It provides chief marketing officers a suite of services to plan their media spends, identify and locate desired customers, invest in marketing campaigns, deliver relevant offers and measure the performance of these activities. Security professionals use the Company’s solutions to maximize Web performance and protect against malicious attacks. It enables the exchange of essential operating information across multiple carriers to provision and manage services, assisting clients with order processing and routing of customer inquiries. The Company’s services include marketing services, security services, data services and number portability administration center (NPAC) services.

About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications Inc. is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its segments include Wireless and Wireline. The Wireless segment offers communications products and services, including wireless voice and data services and equipment sales, to consumer, business and government customers across the United States. The Wireline segment offers voice, data and video communications products and services, such as broadband video, data center and cloud services, security and managed network services, and local and long distance voice services. The Company has combined Yahoo! Inc.’s operating assets with its existing AOL Inc. business to create a new subsidiary, Oath Inc., owns a diverse house of more than 50 media and technology brands. The Oath portfolio includes HuffPost, Yahoo Sports, AOL.com, MAKERS, Tumblr, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Mail.

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