National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV) and Superior Energy Services (NYSE:SPN) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, valuation, earnings, institutional ownership, profitability and dividends.

Risk & Volatility

National Oilwell Varco has a beta of 0.99, meaning that its share price is 1% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Superior Energy Services has a beta of 2.09, meaning that its share price is 109% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

90.3% of National Oilwell Varco shares are held by institutional investors. 0.2% of National Oilwell Varco shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.9% of Superior Energy Services shares are held by company 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.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares National Oilwell Varco and Superior Energy Services’ gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
National Oilwell Varco $6.84 billion 1.70 -$440.00 million ($6.04) -5.08
Superior Energy Services $1.55 billion 0.83 -$16.52 million ($3.20) -2.61

Superior Energy Services has higher revenue, but lower earnings than National Oilwell Varco. National Oilwell Varco is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Superior Energy Services, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


National Oilwell Varco pays an annual dividend of $0.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.7%. Superior Energy Services does not pay a dividend. National Oilwell Varco pays out -3.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.


This table compares National Oilwell Varco and Superior Energy Services’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
National Oilwell Varco -33.24% -2.12% -1.41%
Superior Energy Services -31.24% -28.82% -10.86%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for National Oilwell Varco and Superior Energy Services, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
National Oilwell Varco 3 14 6 0 2.13
Superior Energy Services 0 13 8 0 2.38

National Oilwell Varco currently has a consensus target price of $38.32, suggesting a potential upside of 24.89%. Superior Energy Services has a consensus target price of $16.33, suggesting a potential upside of 95.37%. Given Superior Energy Services’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Superior Energy Services is more favorable than National Oilwell Varco.


Superior Energy Services beats National Oilwell Varco on 8 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

National Oilwell Varco Company Profile

National Oilwell Varco, Inc. is an oilfield equipment manufacturer and technology provider. The Company operates through four segments: Rig Systems, Rig Aftermarket, Wellbore Technologies and Completion & Production Solutions. The Rig Systems segment makes and supports the capital equipment and integrated systems needed to drill oil and gas wells on land and offshore. The Rig Systems segment designs, manufactures and sells land rigs, offshore drilling equipment packages, and drilling rig components. The Rig Aftermarket segment provides aftermarket products and services to support a large installed base of land and offshore rigs, and drilling rig components manufactured by the Company’s Rig Systems segment. The Wellbore Technologies segment designs, manufactures, rents and sells a range of equipment and technologies used to perform drilling operations. The Completion & Production Solutions segment integrates technologies for well completions and oil and gas production.

Superior Energy Services Company Profile

Superior Energy Services, Inc. provides a range of services and products to the energy industry related to the exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas. The Company’s segments include Drilling Products and Services, which rents and sells bottom hole assemblies, drill pipe, tubulars and specialized equipment for use with onshore and offshore oil and gas well drilling, production and workover activities; Onshore Completion and Workover Services, which provides pressure pumping services used to complete and stimulate production in new oil and gas wells, fluid handling services and well servicing rigs that provide a range of well completion and maintenance services; Production Services, which provides intervention services, such as coiled tubing, cased hole and mechanical wireline, hydraulic workover and snubbing, and remedial pumping services, and Technical Solutions, which provides services requiring specialized engineering, manufacturing or project planning.

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