Citizens & Northern (NASDAQ: CZNC) and Park Sterling (NASDAQ:PSTB) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, valuation, profitability, earnings and institutional ownership.

Profitability

This table compares Citizens & Northern and Park Sterling’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Citizens & Northern 25.58% 8.33% 1.26%
Park Sterling 20.24% 9.08% 1.01%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings for Citizens & Northern and Park Sterling, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Citizens & Northern 0 0 0 0 N/A
Park Sterling 0 2 0 0 2.00

Risk & Volatility

Citizens & Northern has a beta of 0.46, suggesting that its stock price is 54% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Park Sterling has a beta of 0.85, suggesting that its stock price is 15% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Citizens & Northern pays an annual dividend of $1.04 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.2%. Park Sterling pays an annual dividend of $0.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.2%. Park Sterling pays out 28.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

29.4% of Citizens & Northern shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 82.6% of Park Sterling shares are owned by institutional investors. 4.3% of Citizens & Northern shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 7.3% of Park Sterling shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Citizens & Northern and Park Sterling’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Citizens & Northern $60.77 million 4.97 $15.76 million N/A N/A
Park Sterling $140.91 million 4.86 $19.94 million $0.56 22.98

Park Sterling has higher revenue and earnings than Citizens & Northern.

Summary

Park Sterling beats Citizens & Northern on 6 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

Citizens & Northern Company Profile

Citizens & Northern Corporation is a holding company. The Company’s principal activity is community banking. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in providing a range of banking and mortgage services to individual and corporate customers in North Central Pennsylvania and Southern New York State. It offers lending products, which include mortgage loans, commercial loans and consumer loans, as well as specialized instruments. Its deposit products include various types of checking accounts, passbook and statement savings, money market accounts, interest checking accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and certificates of deposit. It provides trust and financial management services, including administration of trusts and estates, retirement plans, and other employee benefit plans, and investment management services. Its subsidiaries include Citizens & Northern Bank (C&N Bank or the Bank), Citizens & Northern Investment Corporation and Bucktail Life Insurance Company.

Park Sterling Company Profile

Park Sterling Corporation is a holding company for Park Sterling Bank (the Bank). The Bank is a North Carolina-chartered commercial non-member bank. The Company provides banking services to small and medium-sized businesses, real estate owners, residential builders, institutions, professionals and consumers doing business or residing within its target markets. It provides a range of banking products, including personal, business and non-profit checking accounts, interest on lawyer trust accounts (IOLTA), individual retirement accounts, business and personal money market accounts, time deposits, overdraft protection, safe deposit boxes, and online and mobile banking. Its wealth management activities include investment management, private banking, personal trust and investment brokerage services. Its cash management activities include remote deposit capture, lockbox services, sweep accounts, purchasing cards, automated clearing house (ACH) and wire payments.

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