Empire State Realty Trust (NYSE: ESRT) and Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) are both finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, risk, profitability, earnings, valuation and dividends.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Empire State Realty Trust and Digital Realty Trust’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Empire State Realty Trust $678.00 million 4.27 $52.39 million $0.39 46.82
Digital Realty Trust $2.14 billion 9.99 $426.18 million $1.24 84.01

Digital Realty Trust has higher revenue and earnings than Empire State Realty Trust. Empire State Realty Trust is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Digital Realty Trust, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

Empire State Realty Trust has a beta of 0.86, indicating that its share price is 14% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Digital Realty Trust has a beta of -0.11, indicating that its share price is 111% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Empire State Realty Trust and Digital Realty Trust, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Empire State Realty Trust 0 1 1 0 2.50
Digital Realty Trust 0 6 9 0 2.60

Empire State Realty Trust presently has a consensus price target of $22.33, indicating a potential upside of 22.31%. Digital Realty Trust has a consensus price target of $123.21, indicating a potential upside of 18.28%. Given Empire State Realty Trust’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Empire State Realty Trust is more favorable than Digital Realty Trust.

Profitability

This table compares Empire State Realty Trust and Digital Realty Trust’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Empire State Realty Trust 11.90% 3.98% 2.04%
Digital Realty Trust 11.71% 5.15% 1.97%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

82.8% of Empire State Realty Trust shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 98.4% of Digital Realty Trust shares are held by institutional investors. 11.8% of Empire State Realty Trust shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.4% of Digital Realty Trust shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Dividends

Empire State Realty Trust pays an annual dividend of $0.42 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.3%. Digital Realty Trust pays an annual dividend of $3.72 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. Empire State Realty Trust pays out 107.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Digital Realty Trust pays out 300.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Empire State Realty Trust has raised its dividend for 2 consecutive years and Digital Realty Trust has raised its dividend for 13 consecutive years. Digital Realty Trust is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Summary

Digital Realty Trust beats Empire State Realty Trust on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Empire State Realty Trust

Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. The Company owns, manages, operates, acquires and repositions office and retail properties in Manhattan and the greater New York metropolitan area, including the Empire State Building. The Company operates through two segments: Real Estate and Observatory. The Real Estate segment includes all activities related to the ownership, management, operation, acquisition, repositioning and disposition of its real estate assets. The Observatory segment operates the 86th and 102nd floor observatories at the Empire State Building. As of December 31, 2016, its portfolio consisted of 14 office properties and six standalone retail properties totaling approximately 10.1 million rentable square feet. The Company’s properties include One Grand Central Place, 1400 Broadway, 111 West 33rd Street, 250 West 57th Street, 1359 Broadway and 1333 Broadway.

About Digital Realty Trust

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company is engaged in the business of owning, acquiring, developing and operating data centers. The Company is focused on providing data center and colocation solutions for domestic and international tenants across a range of industry verticals ranging from financial services, cloud and information technology services, to manufacturing, energy, healthcare and consumer products. As of December 31, 2016, its portfolio consisted of 145 operating properties, including 14 properties held as investments in unconsolidated joint ventures, of which 104 are located throughout the United States, 32 are located in Europe, four are located in Asia, three are located in Australia and two are located in Canada. It is a general partner of Digital Realty Trust, L.P. As of December 31, 2016, it owned an approximate 98.5% common general partnership interest in Digital Realty Trust, L.P.

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