QEP Resources (NYSE: QEP) and Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) are both mid-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, dividends, profitability and risk.

Dividends

Ecopetrol pays an annual dividend of $0.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.3%. QEP Resources does not pay a dividend. Ecopetrol pays out 36.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for QEP Resources and Ecopetrol, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
QEP Resources 0 6 10 1 2.71
Ecopetrol 1 4 0 0 1.80

QEP Resources currently has a consensus target price of $14.33, indicating a potential upside of 54.12%. Ecopetrol has a consensus target price of $9.67, indicating a potential downside of 20.50%. Given QEP Resources’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe QEP Resources is more favorable than Ecopetrol.

Volatility and Risk

QEP Resources has a beta of 1.73, meaning that its stock price is 73% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ecopetrol has a beta of 1.14, meaning that its stock price is 14% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares QEP Resources and Ecopetrol’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
QEP Resources -0.90% -3.48% -1.72%
Ecopetrol 6.36% 4.75% 1.79%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares QEP Resources and Ecopetrol’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
QEP Resources $1.38 billion 1.63 -$1.25 billion ($0.06) -154.97
Ecopetrol $15.75 billion 1.59 $3.18 billion $0.44 27.64

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

Institutional & Insider Ownership

93.3% of QEP Resources shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 2.1% of Ecopetrol shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.4% of QEP Resources shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

QEP Resources beats Ecopetrol on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

QEP Resources Company Profile

QEP Resources, Inc. is an independent crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company. The Company focuses on two regions of the United States: the Northern Region (primarily in North Dakota, Wyoming and Utah) and the Southern Region (primarily in Texas and Louisiana). The Company conducts exploration and production activities in North America’s hydrocarbon resource plays. The Company has an inventory of developed and undeveloped drilling locations in the Permian Basin in western Texas, the Williston Basin in North Dakota, Haynesville/Cotton Valley in northwestern Louisiana, the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah and other properties in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. It sells gas volumes to wholesale marketers, industrial users, local distribution companies and utilities. It sells oil and natural gas liquid (NGL) volumes to refiners, marketers and other companies.

Ecopetrol Company Profile

Ecopetrol S.A. is an oil company. The Company operates in Colombia, Peru, Brazil and the United States Gulf Coast. The Company’s segments include Exploration and Production, Transportation and Logistics, and Refining, Petrochemicals and Biofuels. The Company’s Exploration and Production segment includes exploration, development and production activities in Colombia and abroad. The Company’s Transportation and Logistics segment includes the transportation of crude oil, motor fuels, fuel oil and other refined products, including diesel and biofuels. The Company’s main crude oil pipeline systems’ operating capacity is approximately 1.34 million barrels per day (BPD). The Company’s main refineries are the Barrancabermeja refinery, which it directly owns and operates, and a refinery in the Free Trade Zone in Cartagena that is operated by Reficar S.A., a subsidiary of the Company. The Company also owns and operates two other minor refineries: Orito and Apiay.

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