CBL & Associates Properties (NYSE: CBL) and Excel Trust (NYSE:EXL) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, valuation, earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, profitability and risk.

Risk & Volatility

CBL & Associates Properties has a beta of 1.22, indicating that its share price is 22% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Excel Trust has a beta of 0.49, indicating that its share price is 51% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

89.5% of CBL & Associates Properties shares are held by institutional investors. 11.7% of CBL & Associates Properties 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.

Dividends

CBL & Associates Properties pays an annual dividend of $1.06 per share and has a dividend yield of 17.9%. Excel Trust does not pay a dividend. CBL & Associates Properties pays out 165.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Excel Trust has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for CBL & Associates Properties and Excel Trust, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
CBL & Associates Properties 4 7 1 0 1.75
Excel Trust 0 0 0 0 N/A

CBL & Associates Properties currently has a consensus price target of $9.69, suggesting a potential upside of 63.64%. Given CBL & Associates Properties’ higher probable upside, research analysts clearly believe CBL & Associates Properties is more favorable than Excel Trust.

Profitability

This table compares CBL & Associates Properties and Excel Trust’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
CBL & Associates Properties 16.13% 9.42% 2.07%
Excel Trust 9.45% 0.65% 0.88%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares CBL & Associates Properties and Excel Trust’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
CBL & Associates Properties $1.03 billion 0.99 $172.88 million $0.64 9.25
Excel Trust N/A N/A N/A $0.26 60.92

CBL & Associates Properties has higher revenue and earnings than Excel Trust. CBL & Associates Properties is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Excel Trust, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

CBL & Associates Properties beats Excel Trust on 11 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About CBL & Associates Properties

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. is a self-managed, self-administered, integrated real estate investment trust. The Company owns, develops, acquires, leases, manages and operates regional shopping malls, open-air and mixed-use centers, outlet centers, associated centers, community centers and office properties. Its segments are Malls, Associated Centers, Community Centers and All Other. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned a controlling interest in 65 Malls and non-controlling interests in nine Malls. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned a controlling interest in 20 Associated Centers and a non-controlling interest in three Associated Centers. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned a controlling interest in four Community Centers and a non-controlling interest in five Community Centers. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s properties were located in 27 states, primarily in the southeastern and mid-western United States.

About Excel Trust

Excel Trust, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company is a vertically integrated, self-administered, self-managed real estate firm with the principal objective of acquiring, financing, developing, leasing, owning and managing community and power centers, grocery anchored neighborhood centers and freestanding retail properties. It operates through three segments: retail properties, multi-family properties and office properties. It owns approximately 38 consolidated retail operating properties with a total of approximately 7.2 million square feet of gross leasable area (GLA). The multi-family segment consists of apartment units at one retail property, West Broad Village, which is located in Richmond, Virginia. The office segment consists of two properties, Excel Centre, a portion of which is utilized as its headquarters, and the Promenade Corporate Center. These office properties total approximately 338,339 square feet of GLA.

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