Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM) and Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, institutional ownership, risk, analyst recommendations, valuation, dividends and profitability.

Profitability

This table compares Iron Mountain and Cousins Properties’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Iron Mountain 6.27% 15.46% 1.80%
Cousins Properties 22.88% 3.77% 2.43%

Dividends

Iron Mountain pays an annual dividend of $2.47 per share and has a dividend yield of 9.9%. Cousins Properties pays an annual dividend of $1.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.4%. Iron Mountain pays out 107.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Cousins Properties pays out 39.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Iron Mountain has increased its dividend for 10 consecutive years and Cousins Properties has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years. Iron Mountain is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Volatility & Risk

Iron Mountain has a beta of 0.59, meaning that its stock price is 41% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Cousins Properties has a beta of 0.99, meaning that its stock price is 1% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Iron Mountain and Cousins Properties’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Iron Mountain $4.26 billion 1.69 $267.38 million $2.29 10.94
Cousins Properties $657.52 million 5.90 $150.42 million $2.94 8.98

Iron Mountain has higher revenue and earnings than Cousins Properties. Cousins Properties is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Iron Mountain, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

84.1% of Iron Mountain shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 99.5% of Cousins Properties shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.9% of Iron Mountain shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of Cousins Properties shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Iron Mountain and Cousins Properties, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Iron Mountain 2 2 3 0 2.14
Cousins Properties 0 0 2 0 3.00

Iron Mountain presently has a consensus target price of $31.23, suggesting a potential upside of 24.66%. Cousins Properties has a consensus target price of $42.00, suggesting a potential upside of 59.09%. Given Cousins Properties’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Cousins Properties is more favorable than Iron Mountain.

Summary

Cousins Properties beats Iron Mountain on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM), founded in 1951, is the global leader for storage and information management services. Trusted by more than 225,000 organizations around the world, and with a real estate network of more than 85 million square feet across more than 1,400 facilities in approximately 50 countries, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of valued assets, including critical business information, highly sensitive data, and cultural and historical artifacts. Providing solutions that include information management, digital transformation, secure storage, secure destruction, as well as data centers, cloud services and art storage and logistics, Iron Mountain helps customers lower cost and risk, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and enable a more digital way of working.

About Cousins Properties

Cousins Properties is a fully integrated, self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company, based in Atlanta, GA and acting through its operating partnership, Cousins Properties LP, primarily invests in Class A office towers located in high-growth Sun Belt markets. Founded in 1958, Cousins creates shareholder value through its extensive expertise in the development, acquisition, leasing and management of high-quality real estate assets. The Company has a comprehensive strategy in place based on a simple platform, trophy assets and opportunistic investments.

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