Manulife Financial Corp (NYSE: MFC) and Protective Life Corp. (NYSE:PL) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, risk, earnings, profitability, institutional ownership, valuation and dividends.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

46.7% of Manulife Financial Corp shares are owned by institutional investors. 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.

Risk and Volatility

Manulife Financial Corp has a beta of 1.32, meaning that its share price is 32% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Protective Life Corp. has a beta of 1.71, meaning that its share price is 71% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Manulife Financial Corp and Protective Life Corp.’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Manulife Financial Corp $40.27 billion 1.04 $2.26 billion $1.40 15.08
Protective Life Corp. N/A N/A N/A $5.29 13.22

Manulife Financial Corp has higher revenue and earnings than Protective Life Corp.. Protective Life Corp. is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Manulife Financial Corp, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Manulife Financial Corp and Protective Life Corp., as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Manulife Financial Corp 0 1 0 0 2.00
Protective Life Corp. 0 0 0 0 N/A

Manulife Financial Corp presently has a consensus price target of $27.00, suggesting a potential upside of 27.90%. Given Manulife Financial Corp’s higher possible upside, research analysts clearly believe Manulife Financial Corp is more favorable than Protective Life Corp..

Dividends

Manulife Financial Corp pays an annual dividend of $0.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.0%. Protective Life Corp. does not pay a dividend. Manulife Financial Corp pays out 45.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Manulife Financial Corp has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares Manulife Financial Corp and Protective Life Corp.’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Manulife Financial Corp N/A 11.55% 0.64%
Protective Life Corp. 10.35% 10.03% 0.67%

Summary

Manulife Financial Corp beats Protective Life Corp. on 6 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

Manulife Financial Corp Company Profile

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) is a holding company of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (MLI), which is a life insurance company, and John Hancock Reassurance Company Ltd. (JHRECO), which is a reinsurance company. The Company operates as a financial services company with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. The Company’s segments include Asia Division, Canadian Division, U.S. Division, and the Corporate and Other. The Company operates as Manulife in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. The product and service offerings under its Asia, Canadian and U.S. Divisions include Protection, Wealth and Asset Management, and Other Wealth. The Corporate and Other segment includes external asset management business, Property and Casualty (P&C) Reinsurance Business, and run-off reinsurance operations, including variable annuities, and accident and health.

Protective Life Corp. Company Profile

Protective Life Corporation is a holding company. The Company along with subsidiaries provides financial services in the United States through the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products. The Company operates several operating segments, each distinguished by products, channels of distribution, and/or other strategic distinctions. The Company’s operating segments are Life Marketing, Acquisitions, Annuities, Stable Value Products, and Asset Protection. The Company has an additional segment referred to as Corporate and Other which consists of net investment income not assigned and expenses not attributable to the segments. This segment also includes earnings from several non-strategic or runoff lines of business, various investment-related transactions, the operations of small subsidiaries, and the repurchase of non-recourse funding obligations.

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