Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE: SCCO) and U.S. Silica Holdings (NYSE:SLCA) are both mid-cap basic materials companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, risk, profitabiliy, institutional ownership, earnings, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

6.3% of Southern Copper Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.5% of Southern Copper Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 1.0% of U.S. Silica Holdings 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.

Dividends

Southern Copper Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.48 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.3%. U.S. Silica Holdings pays an annual dividend of $0.25 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.7%. Southern Copper Corporation pays out 40.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. U.S. Silica Holdings pays out -59.5% 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 Southern Copper Corporation and U.S. Silica Holdings’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Southern Copper Corporation 15.84% 15.54% 6.89%
U.S. Silica Holdings -4.07% -1.94% -1.07%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Southern Copper Corporation and U.S. Silica Holdings’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Southern Copper Corporation $5.72 billion 5.01 $2.46 billion $1.18 31.43
U.S. Silica Holdings $681.91 million 4.03 $56.62 million ($0.42) -80.76

Southern Copper Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than U.S. Silica Holdings. U.S. Silica Holdings is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Southern Copper Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Southern Copper Corporation has a beta of 0.53, suggesting that its stock price is 47% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, U.S. Silica Holdings has a beta of 2.37, suggesting that its stock price is 137% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Southern Copper Corporation and U.S. Silica Holdings, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Southern Copper Corporation 3 2 2 0 1.86
U.S. Silica Holdings 1 2 16 1 2.85

Southern Copper Corporation presently has a consensus price target of $32.30, suggesting a potential downside of 12.91%. U.S. Silica Holdings has a consensus price target of $56.66, suggesting a potential upside of 67.03%. Given U.S. Silica Holdings’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe U.S. Silica Holdings is more favorable than Southern Copper Corporation.

Summary

Southern Copper Corporation beats U.S. Silica Holdings on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Southern Copper Corporation

Southern Copper Corporation is an integrated copper producer. It produces copper and, in the production process, obtains several by-products, including molybdenum, silver, zinc, sulfuric acid and other metals. Its segments include the Peruvian operations, the Mexican open-pit operations and the Mexican underground mining operations segment identified as the IMMSA unit. The Peruvian operations segment includes the Toquepala and Cuajone mine complexes, and the smelting and refining plants, including a metals plant industrial railroad and port facilities that service both mines. The Mexican open-pit operations segment includes the La Caridad and Buenavista mine complexes, and the smelting and refining plants, including a metals plant and a copper rod plant, and support facilities that service both mines. As of December 31, 2016, the Mexican underground mining operations segment included five underground mines that produce zinc, copper, silver and gold, a coal mine and a zinc refinery.

About U.S. Silica Holdings

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. is a domestic producer of commercial silica, a specialized mineral that is an input into a range of end markets. The Company operates in two segments: Oil & Gas Proppants, and Industrial & Specialty Products. In the Oil & Gas Proppants segment, it serves the oil and gas recovery market providing fracturing sand, or frac sand, which is pumped down oil and natural gas wells to prop open rock fissures and manage the flow rate of natural gas and oil from the wells. As of December 31, 2016, the Industrial & Specialty Products segment consisted of over 215 products and materials, which are used in a range of industries, including container glass, fiberglass, specialty glass, flat glass, building products, fillers and extenders, foundry products, chemicals, recreation products and filtration products. It produces and sells a range of commercial silica products, including whole grain and ground products, as well as other industrial mineral products.

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