NorthWestern Corporation (NYSE: NWE) is one of 85 public companies in the “Electric Utilities” industry, but how does it compare to its competitors? We will compare NorthWestern Corporation to similar businesses based on the strength of its valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, dividends, profitability, risk and institutional ownership.

Volatility and Risk

NorthWestern Corporation has a beta of 0.36, suggesting that its stock price is 64% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, NorthWestern Corporation’s competitors have a beta of 0.70, suggesting that their average stock price is 30% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

NorthWestern Corporation pays an annual dividend of $2.10 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.7%. NorthWestern Corporation pays out 60.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. As a group, “Electric Utilities” companies pay a dividend yield of 3.2% and pay out 103.5% of their earnings in the form of a dividend. NorthWestern Corporation has raised its dividend for 8 consecutive years. NorthWestern Corporation is clearly a better dividend stock than its competitors, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations for NorthWestern Corporation and its competitors, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
NorthWestern Corporation 2 1 0 0 1.33
NorthWestern Corporation Competitors 704 3262 2461 52 2.29

NorthWestern Corporation presently has a consensus price target of $57.33, suggesting a potential upside of 0.06%. As a group, “Electric Utilities” companies have a potential upside of 6.11%. Given NorthWestern Corporation’s competitors stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe NorthWestern Corporation has less favorable growth aspects than its competitors.

Profitability

This table compares NorthWestern Corporation and its competitors’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
NorthWestern Corporation 13.17% 9.31% 2.86%
NorthWestern Corporation Competitors -10.82% 3.51% 0.54%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares NorthWestern Corporation and its competitors gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue EBITDA Price/Earnings Ratio
NorthWestern Corporation $1.28 billion $411.62 million 16.47
NorthWestern Corporation Competitors $7.19 billion $2.12 billion 30.40

NorthWestern Corporation’s competitors have higher revenue and earnings than NorthWestern Corporation. NorthWestern Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than its competitors, indicating that it is currently more affordable than other companies in its industry.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

98.3% of NorthWestern Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 65.5% of shares of all “Electric Utilities” companies are held by institutional investors. 1.3% of NorthWestern Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.9% of shares of all “Electric Utilities” companies are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

NorthWestern Corporation competitors beat NorthWestern Corporation on 9 of the 15 factors compared.

NorthWestern Corporation Company Profile

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as North-Western Energy, provides electricity and natural gas. The Company’s segments are Electric operations, Natural gas operations and All other. As of December 31, 2016, the Company provided electricity and natural gas to approximately 709,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It generates and distributes electricity in South Dakota; distributes natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska, and generates and distributes electricity and distributes natural gas in Montana. Its regulated electric utility business in Montana includes generation, transmission and distribution. As of December 31, 2016, it provided retail electricity in 110 communities in South Dakota. Its regulated natural gas utility business in Montana includes production, storage, transmission and distribution. As of December 31, 2016, it provided natural gas to approximately 88,500 customers in 60 South Dakota communities and four Nebraska communities.

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