Cleco Corporate Holdings (NYSE: CNL) and Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) are both mid-cap electric utilities – nec companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, analyst recommendations, dividends, risk, earnings, valuation and institutional ownership.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Cleco Corporate Holdings and Duke Energy Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Cleco Corporate Holdings 0 0 0 0 N/A
Duke Energy Corporation 1 10 2 0 2.08

Duke Energy Corporation has a consensus target price of $86.55, suggesting a potential downside of 2.55%. Given Duke Energy Corporation’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Duke Energy Corporation is more favorable than Cleco Corporate Holdings.

Risk & Volatility

Cleco Corporate Holdings has a beta of 0.53, suggesting that its stock price is 47% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Duke Energy Corporation has a beta of 0.26, suggesting that its stock price is 74% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Cleco Corporate Holdings and Duke Energy Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Cleco Corporate Holdings 8.24% 5.05% 1.60%
Duke Energy Corporation 9.09% 7.54% 2.31%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Cleco Corporate Holdings and Duke Energy Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Cleco Corporate Holdings N/A N/A N/A $2.20 25.16
Duke Energy Corporation $22.74 billion 2.73 $2.15 billion $3.03 29.31

Duke Energy Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than Cleco Corporate Holdings. Cleco Corporate Holdings is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Duke Energy Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Cleco Corporate Holdings pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.9%. Duke Energy Corporation pays an annual dividend of $3.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.0%. Cleco Corporate Holdings pays out 72.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Duke Energy Corporation pays out 117.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Cleco Corporate Holdings has raised its dividend for 10 consecutive years and Duke Energy Corporation has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

56.3% of Duke Energy Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.1% of Duke Energy Corporation shares are owned 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.

Summary

Duke Energy Corporation beats Cleco Corporate Holdings on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Cleco Corporate Holdings

Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC, formerly Cleco Corporation, is a public utility holding company. The Company’s segments include Cleco Power and Other. Cleco Power is a regulated electric utility company that owns over 10 generating units with a total nameplate capacity of approximately 3,330 megawatts (MW) and serves approximately 287,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns one transmission substation in Louisiana and one transmission substation in Mississippi. Cleco Power is engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity within Louisiana. It owns natural gas pipelines and interconnections at all of its generating facilities, which allow it to access various natural gas supply markets and maintain an economical fuel supply for its customers. The Company holds investments in its subsidiary, Cleco Power LLC (Cleco Power).

About Duke Energy Corporation

Duke Energy Corporation (Duke Energy) is an energy company. The Company operates through three segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure; Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Company operates in the United States through its direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment provides retail electric service through the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 7.5 million customers within the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States. The operations include electricity sold wholesale to municipalities, electric cooperative utilities and other load-serving entities. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure segment serves residential, commercial, industrial and power generation natural gas customers. The Commercial Renewables primarily acquires, builds, develops and operates wind and solar renewable generation throughout the continental United States.

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