DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) and Alliant Energy (NYSE:LNT) are both mid-cap utilities companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, profitability, valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, risk and dividends.

Profitability

This table compares DTE Energy and Alliant Energy’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
DTE Energy 8.01% 9.56% 2.84%
Alliant Energy 13.13% 11.02% 3.22%

Risk & Volatility

DTE Energy has a beta of 0.23, suggesting that its stock price is 77% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Alliant Energy has a beta of 0.47, suggesting that its stock price is 53% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for DTE Energy and Alliant Energy, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
DTE Energy 1 3 4 0 2.38
Alliant Energy 0 6 0 0 2.00

DTE Energy presently has a consensus target price of $114.19, suggesting a potential upside of 8.05%. Alliant Energy has a consensus target price of $42.20, suggesting a potential upside of 3.15%. Given DTE Energy’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe DTE Energy is more favorable than Alliant Energy.

Dividends

DTE Energy pays an annual dividend of $3.53 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. Alliant Energy pays an annual dividend of $1.26 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.1%. DTE Energy pays out 64.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Alliant Energy pays out 68.1% 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. DTE Energy has increased its dividend for 12 consecutive years and Alliant Energy has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years. DTE Energy is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

68.3% of DTE Energy shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 68.5% of Alliant Energy shares are held by institutional investors. 0.5% of DTE Energy shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.3% of Alliant Energy shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares DTE Energy and Alliant Energy’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
DTE Energy $10.63 billion 1.78 $868.00 million $5.47 19.32
Alliant Energy $3.32 billion 2.85 $381.70 million $1.85 22.11

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

Summary

DTE Energy beats Alliant Energy on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About DTE Energy

DTE Energy Company is an energy company. Its segments include Electric, which consists of DTE Electric Company, which is engaged in the generation, purchase, distribution and sale of electricity to residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeastern Michigan; Gas, which consists of DTE Gas Company, which is engaged in the purchase, storage, transportation, distribution and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout Michigan; Gas Storage and Pipelines, which consists of natural gas pipeline, gathering and storage businesses; Power and Industrial Projects, which consists of projects that deliver energy and utility-type products and services to industrial, commercial and institutional customers, and sell electricity from renewable energy projects; Energy Trading, which consists of energy marketing and trading operations, and Corporate and Other, which includes various holding company activities and holds certain non-utility debt.

About Alliant Energy

Alliant Energy Corporation operates as a regulated investor-owned public utility holding company. The Company’s segments include Utility and Non-regulated, Parent and Other. The Utility segment includes the operations of Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL) and Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), which serve retail customers in Iowa and Wisconsin. The Utility segment includes utility electric operations, utility gas operations and utility other, which includes steam operations and the unallocated portions of the utility business. Its Non-regulated, Parent and Other segment includes the operations of Alliant Energy Resources, LLC and its subsidiaries; Alliant Energy Corporate Services, Inc. (Corporate Services); the Alliant Energy parent company, and any Alliant Energy parent company consolidating adjustments. IPL and WPL own a portfolio of electric generating units located in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota with a fuel mix, including coal, natural gas and renewable resources.

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