Gladstone Investment (NASDAQ: GAIN) and Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund (NYSE:CTR) are both small-cap financials companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, earnings, risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership and profitability.

Profitability

This table compares Gladstone Investment and Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Gladstone Investment 80.07% 6.95% 4.27%
Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund N/A N/A N/A

Dividends

Gladstone Investment pays an annual dividend of $0.78 per share and has a dividend yield of 6.8%. Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund does not pay a dividend. Gladstone Investment pays out 57.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Gladstone Investment and Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Gladstone Investment 0 2 0 0 2.00
Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund 0 0 0 0 N/A

Gladstone Investment currently has a consensus target price of $10.50, indicating a potential downside of 7.81%. Given Gladstone Investment’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Gladstone Investment is more favorable than Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

17.6% of Gladstone Investment shares are held by institutional investors. 2.4% of Gladstone Investment shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Gladstone Investment and Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Gladstone Investment $51.88 million 7.14 $44.76 million $1.35 8.44
Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Gladstone Investment has higher revenue and earnings than Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund.

Risk and Volatility

Gladstone Investment has a beta of 0.74, indicating that its stock price is 26% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund has a beta of 1.4, indicating that its stock price is 40% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Gladstone Investment beats Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund on 8 of the 10 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Gladstone Investment

Gladstone Investment Corporation is an externally managed, closed-end, non-diversified management investment company. The Company’s investment objectives are to achieve and grow current income by investing in debt securities of established businesses that it believes will provide stable earnings and cash flow to pay expenses, make principal and interest payments on its outstanding indebtedness and make distributions to stockholders that grow over time, and provide its stockholders with long-term capital appreciation in the value of its assets by investing in equity securities, generally in combination with the aforementioned debt securities, of businesses that it believes can grow over time to permit it to sell its equity investments for capital gains. It has investments in sectors, such as chemicals, plastics, and rubber, and home and office furnishings, house wares, and durable consumer products, among others. Its investment advisor is Gladstone Management Corporation.

About Clearbridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund

ClearBridge Energy MLP Total Return Fund Inc. is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company. The Fund’s investment objective is to provide a high level of total return, consisting of cash distributions and capital appreciation. The Fund seeks to achieve its objective by investing primarily in energy master limited partnerships (MLPs). Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its managed assets in energy MLPs. Energy entities are engaged in the business of exploring, developing, producing, gathering, transporting, processing, storing, refining, distributing, mining or marketing natural gas, natural gas liquids (including propane), crude oil, refined petroleum products or coal. Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC (LMPFA) is the Fund’s investment manager and ClearBridge Investments, LLC is the Fund’s subadvisor.

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