Loews (NYSE:L) and Markel (NYSE:MKL) are both large-cap finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, risk, profitability, dividends, earnings and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

Loews pays an annual dividend of $0.25 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. Markel does not pay a dividend. Loews pays out 8.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

62.8% of Loews shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 76.1% of Markel shares are held by institutional investors. 14.2% of Loews shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 2.3% of Markel shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Loews and Markel’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Loews 5.17% 4.72% 1.29%
Markel 6.73% 8.76% 2.47%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Loews and Markel’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Loews $14.07 billion 1.13 $636.00 million $2.84 18.40
Markel $6.84 billion 2.17 -$128.18 million $20.53 52.27

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for Loews and Markel, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Loews 0 4 1 0 2.20
Markel 0 2 1 0 2.33

Loews currently has a consensus price target of $66.00, suggesting a potential upside of 26.27%. Markel has a consensus price target of $1,133.33, suggesting a potential upside of 5.62%. Given Loews’ higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Loews is more favorable than Markel.

Risk & Volatility

Loews has a beta of 0.64, indicating that its stock price is 36% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Markel has a beta of 0.83, indicating that its stock price is 17% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Markel beats Loews on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Loews Company Profile

Loews Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides commercial property and casualty insurance in the United States and internationally. It operates through CNA Financial Corporation; Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc.; Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP; and Loews Hotels Holding Corporation segments. The company offers specialty insurance products, such as management and professional liability insurance coverages and products; surety and fidelity bonds; and warranty and alternative risk services. It also provides commercial property insurance products include standard and excess property, marine, and boiler and machinery coverages; casualty insurance products comprise workers' compensation, general and product liability, commercial auto, and umbrella coverages; and loss-sensitive insurance programs; and warranty, risk management, information, and claims administration services. The company markets its insurance products and services primarily through independent agents, brokers, and managing general underwriters. In addition, the company offers contract drilling services through a fleet of 17 offshore drilling rigs consisting of 4 drillships and 13 semisubmersible rigs. Further, it is involved in the transportation and storage of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs). It owns and operates natural gas pipelines covering approximately 13,805 miles of interconnected pipelines; approximately 455 miles of NGL pipelines in Louisiana and Texas; and 14 underground storage fields with aggregate working gas capacity of approximately 205 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Additionally, it operates a chain of 24 hotels in the United States and Canada. The company was incorporated in 1969 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Markel Company Profile

Markel Corporation, a diverse financial holding company, markets and underwrites specialty insurance products in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and internationally. Its Insurance segment offers general and professional liability, property, personal lines, marine and energy, specialty programs, and workers' compensation insurance products. This segment also offers contract, commercial, and court bonds; coverage on automobiles or other vehicles held as collateral for loans; coverages for horse mortality, theft, infertility, transit, and specified perils; crime coverage; property and liability package coverage to small and medium sized businesses; accident and health coverage; coverage for legal expenses; and short-term trade credit coverage for commercial risks. The company's Reinsurance segment offers general liability, professional liability, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, environmental impairment liability, and auto liability; property treaty products for catastrophe, per risk, and retrocessional exposures; and specialty treaty reinsurance products comprising structured and whole turnover credit, political risk, mortgage and contract, and commercial surety reinsurance programs. Its Markel Ventures segment provides equipment used in baking systems and food processing; portable dredges; over-the-road car haulers and equipment; laminated oak and composite wood flooring; storage and transportation equipment for specialty gas; dormitory furniture, wall systems, medical casework, and marine panels; ornamental plants; fashion handbags; residential homes; and behavioral healthcare, concierge health programs, retail intelligence, and management and technology consulting services, as well as leases and manages manufactured housing communities. The company's Other segment operates as an insurance-linked securities investment fund manager. Markel Corporation was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in Glen Allen, Virginia.

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