Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN) and Eaton Vance (NYSE:EV) are both mid-cap business services companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, institutional ownership, dividends, profitability, analyst recommendations, risk and valuation.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Morningstar and Eaton Vance, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Morningstar 0 0 0 0 N/A
Eaton Vance 0 4 3 0 2.43

Eaton Vance has a consensus price target of $57.07, indicating a potential upside of 6.66%. Given Eaton Vance’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Eaton Vance is more favorable than Morningstar.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

39.6% of Morningstar shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 68.4% of Eaton Vance shares are owned by institutional investors. 57.5% of Morningstar shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Morningstar and Eaton Vance’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Morningstar 16.15% 17.53% 10.28%
Eaton Vance 21.44% 34.91% 14.60%

Volatility and Risk

Morningstar has a beta of 0.81, meaning that its stock price is 19% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Eaton Vance has a beta of 1.62, meaning that its stock price is 62% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Morningstar and Eaton Vance’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Morningstar $911.70 million 6.01 $136.90 million N/A N/A
Eaton Vance $1.53 billion 4.13 $282.13 million $2.48 21.58

Eaton Vance has higher revenue and earnings than Morningstar.

Dividends

Morningstar pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.8%. Eaton Vance pays an annual dividend of $1.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.3%. Eaton Vance pays out 50.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Morningstar has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years and Eaton Vance has raised its dividend for 37 consecutive years. Eaton Vance is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Summary

Eaton Vance beats Morningstar on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Morningstar

Morningstar, Inc. provides independent investment research services in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. It offers a line of data, research, and software tools on a range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, fixed income securities, private capital markets, and real-time global market data for financial advisors, asset managers, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and individual and institutional investors. The company offers Morningstar Data, an investment data spanning various investment databases, including pricing and commodity data; Morningstar Direct, an institutional investment research platform; investment management solutions, which include Morningstar Managed Portfolios, the strategist models on third-party managed account platforms, as well as services for institutional asset management, asset allocation, and manager selection; institutional asset management services for asset management firms, broker-dealers, and insurance providers; Morningstar Advisor Workstation, a Web-based investment planning system; and Morningstar.com, a Website for individual investors. It also provides Morningstar Enterprise Components, a set of tools and capabilities that builds customized Websites or enhances existing solutions; Morningstar Research, which includes equity research and manager research; Morningstar Credit Ratings that provides new issue and surveillance ratings and analysis for structured credits, as well as operational risk assessment services; Morningstar Indexes, a set of investment indexes; workplace solutions, such as retirement advice and managed accounts, fiduciary services, and custom models; a mobile application, excel plug-in, data feeds, and data solutions; equity and manager research, and credit rating services; and institutional asset management, asset allocation, and manager selection services. The company was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

About Eaton Vance

Eaton Vance Corp., through its subsidiaries, engages in the creation, marketing, and management of investment funds in the United States. It also provides investment management and counseling services to institutions and individuals. Further, the company operates as an adviser and distributor of investment companies and separate accounts. As of October 31, 2004, the company provided investment advisory or administration services to approximately 150 funds; approximately 1,300 separately managed individual and institutional accounts; and participated in approximately 40 retail-managed account broker/dealer programs. It markets and distributes shares of funds through a retail network of national and regional broker/dealers, banks, insurance companies, and financial planning firms. Eaton Vance Corp. was incorporated on January 29, 1981 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

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