CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE: CNA) and Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE:ORI) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, dividends, earnings, analyst recommendations, profitability and risk.

Profitability

This table compares CNA Financial Corporation and Old Republic International Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
CNA Financial Corporation 9.67% 7.14% 1.53%
Old Republic International Corporation 6.45% 7.50% 1.81%

Dividends

CNA Financial Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.2%. Old Republic International Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.76 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.7%. CNA Financial Corporation pays out 35.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Old Republic International Corporation pays out 55.5% 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. CNA Financial Corporation has increased its dividend for 35 consecutive years.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings for CNA Financial Corporation and Old Republic International Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
CNA Financial Corporation 0 3 0 0 2.00
Old Republic International Corporation 0 0 0 1 4.00

CNA Financial Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $46.67, suggesting a potential downside of 15.12%. Old Republic International Corporation has a consensus target price of $25.00, suggesting a potential upside of 22.31%. Given Old Republic International Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Old Republic International Corporation is more favorable than CNA Financial Corporation.

Risk & Volatility

CNA Financial Corporation has a beta of 1.34, suggesting that its share price is 34% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Old Republic International Corporation has a beta of 1.36, suggesting that its share price is 36% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

99.9% of CNA Financial Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 71.1% of Old Republic International Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 0.5% of CNA Financial Corporation shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 2.3% of Old Republic International Corporation shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares CNA Financial Corporation and Old Republic International Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
CNA Financial Corporation $9.37 billion 1.59 $859.00 million $3.38 16.27
Old Republic International Corporation $5.90 billion 0.91 $467.00 million $1.37 14.92

CNA Financial Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than Old Republic International Corporation. Old Republic International Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than CNA Financial Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

CNA Financial Corporation beats Old Republic International Corporation on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About CNA Financial Corporation

CNA Financial Corporation is an insurance holding company. The Company’s segments include Specialty, Commercial, International, Life & Group Non-Core, and Corporate & Other Non-Core. Its Specialty segment provides a range of professional, financial, and specialty property, and casualty products and services. The Commercial segment includes property and casualty insurance products and services to small, middle-market and large businesses. Its International segment provides management and professional liability coverages, as well as a range of other property and casualty insurance products and services. The Life & Group Non-Core segment primarily includes the results of its individual and group long term care businesses that are in run-off. Its Corporate & Other Non-Core segment primarily includes certain corporate expenses, including interest on corporate debt, and the results of certain property and casualty business in run-off.

About Old Republic International Corporation

Old Republic International Corporation is a holding company. The Company is engaged in business of insurance underwriting and related services. The Company conducts its operations through various regulated insurance company subsidiaries, which are organized into three segments: General Insurance Group, Title Insurance Group and the Republic Financial Indemnity Group (RFIG) Run-off Business. The Company’s General Insurance segment consists of property and liability insurance, and offers coverages to businesses, government and other institutions. The Company’s Title Insurance Group business consists of the issuance of policies to real estate purchasers and investors based upon searches of the public records, which contain information concerning interests in real property. The Company’s RFIG run-off business consists of its mortgage guaranty and consumer credit indemnity (CCI) operations.

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