Great Southern Bancorp (NASDAQ: GSBC) and Salisbury Bancorp (NASDAQ:SAL) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, risk, institutional ownership, earnings, profitability, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

Great Southern Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.96 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.0%. Salisbury Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $1.12 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. Great Southern Bancorp pays out 26.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Salisbury Bancorp pays out 50.2% 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.

Profitability

This table compares Great Southern Bancorp and Salisbury Bancorp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Great Southern Bancorp 23.27% 11.51% 1.16%
Salisbury Bancorp 14.13% 7.82% 0.78%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Great Southern Bancorp and Salisbury Bancorp’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Great Southern Bancorp $221.59 million 3.06 $51.56 million $3.63 13.28
Salisbury Bancorp $43.76 million 3.02 $6.68 million $2.23 21.25

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for Great Southern Bancorp and Salisbury Bancorp, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Great Southern Bancorp 0 2 0 0 2.00
Salisbury Bancorp 0 0 1 0 3.00

Great Southern Bancorp presently has a consensus price target of $56.00, suggesting a potential upside of 16.18%. Salisbury Bancorp has a consensus price target of $51.00, suggesting a potential upside of 7.64%. Given Great Southern Bancorp’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Great Southern Bancorp is more favorable than Salisbury Bancorp.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

40.8% of Great Southern Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 9.8% of Salisbury Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. 23.8% of Great Southern Bancorp shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 19.1% of Salisbury Bancorp shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk & Volatility

Great Southern Bancorp has a beta of 1.02, meaning that its stock price is 2% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Salisbury Bancorp has a beta of 0.61, meaning that its stock price is 39% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Great Southern Bancorp beats Salisbury Bancorp on 12 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Great Southern Bancorp Company Profile

Great Southern Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company, a financial holding company and the parent of Great Southern Bank (the Bank). Through the Bank and subsidiaries of the Bank, the Company offers insurance, travel, investment and related services. The Bank makes long-term, fixed-rate residential real estate loans. It also originates commercial real estate and other residential loans, primarily with adjustable rates or shorter-term fixed rates, and commercial business and consumer loans, primarily in indirect automobile lending. The Company’s investment portfolio consists of mortgage-backed securities, and states and political subdivisions. As of December 31, 2016, the Bank offered a range of banking services through its 104 banking centers located in southern and central Missouri; the Kansas City, Missouri area; the St. Louis, Missouri area; eastern Kansas; northwestern Arkansas; eastern Nebraska, the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, and eastern, western and central Iowa.

Salisbury Bancorp Company Profile

Salisbury Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company for Salisbury Bank and Trust Company (the Bank). The Bank is a Connecticut-chartered and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the FDIC) insured commercial bank. The Bank provides commercial banking, consumer financing, retail banking and trust and wealth advisory services through a network of over 10 banking offices and approximately nine automated teller machines (ATMs). The Bank originates commercial loans, commercial real estate loans, residential and commercial construction loans, residential real estate loans collateralized by one- to four- family residences, home equity lines of credit, fixed rate loans and other consumer loans. The Bank’s securities portfolio include the United States Government and Agency securities, mortgage-backed securities, collateralized mortgage obligations and tax exempt municipal bonds. The Bank uses deposits, repayments and sales, and borrowings to fund lending, investing and general operations.

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