EQT (NYSE: EQT) and Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) are both mid-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, dividends, earnings, valuation, institutional ownership, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

EQT pays an annual dividend of $0.12 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.2%. Williams Partners pays an annual dividend of $2.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 6.4%. EQT pays out 57.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Williams Partners pays out 157.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

90.6% of EQT shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 22.5% of Williams Partners shares are held by institutional investors. 1.0% of EQT shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares EQT and Williams Partners’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
EQT $1.61 billion 6.14 -$452.98 million $0.21 270.54
Williams Partners $7.49 billion 4.90 $431.00 million $1.52 24.82

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for EQT and Williams Partners, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
EQT 0 5 10 0 2.67
Williams Partners 0 2 10 1 2.92

EQT presently has a consensus price target of $77.25, indicating a potential upside of 35.98%. Williams Partners has a consensus price target of $44.62, indicating a potential upside of 18.25%. Given EQT’s higher probable upside, equities analysts plainly believe EQT is more favorable than Williams Partners.

Profitability

This table compares EQT and Williams Partners’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
EQT 1.39% 1.61% 0.95%
Williams Partners 17.02% 5.55% 2.90%

Risk and Volatility

EQT has a beta of 0.76, suggesting that its share price is 24% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Williams Partners has a beta of 1.43, suggesting that its share price is 43% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Williams Partners beats EQT on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About EQT

EQT Corporation is a natural gas company. The Company operates through three segments: EQT Production, EQT Gathering and EQT Transmission. The EQT Production segment includes its exploration for, and development and production of, natural gas, natural gas liquids and a limited amount of crude oil, primarily in the Appalachian Basin. The EQT Production segment also includes the marketing activities of the Company. EQT Production’s properties are located in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. The operations of EQT Gathering include the natural gas gathering activities of the Company, consisting solely of assets that are owned and operated by EQT Midstream Partners, LP (EQM). The operations of EQT Transmission include the natural gas transmission and storage activities of the Company, consisting solely of assets that are owned and operated by EQM. EQT Transmission focuses on various transmission projects, including Mountain Valley Pipeline and Transmission Expansion.

About Williams Partners

Williams Partners L.P. is an energy infrastructure company. The Company has operations across the natural gas value chain from gathering, processing, and interstate transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids to petchem production of ethylene, propylene, and other olefins. It operates through its Northeast G&P, Atlantic-Gulf, West segment. Under the Northeast G&P segment, it owns and operates fractionation facilities at Moundsville, de-ethanization and condensate facilities at its Oak Grove processing plant. The Atlantic Gulf segment includes the Company’s interstate natural gas pipeline, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC. The West segment includes its interstate natural gas pipeline, Northwest Pipeline, and natural gas gathering processing and treating operations.

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