Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI) and Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust (NASDAQ:WHLR) are both finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, earnings, analyst recommendations, valuation, risk, dividends and institutional ownership.

Profitability

This table compares Weingarten Realty Investors and Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Weingarten Realty Investors 33.57% 11.03% 4.36%
Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust -13.41% -14.10% -1.88%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Weingarten Realty Investors and Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Weingarten Realty Investors $571.15 million 7.17 $367.56 million $1.47 21.71
Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust $52.98 million 1.90 $32.30 million ($1.83) -6.34

Weingarten Realty Investors has higher revenue and earnings than Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust. Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Weingarten Realty Investors, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

80.3% of Weingarten Realty Investors shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.3% of Weingarten Realty Investors shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 5.3% of Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for Weingarten Realty Investors and Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Weingarten Realty Investors 1 2 1 0 2.00
Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust 0 1 3 0 2.75

Weingarten Realty Investors presently has a consensus price target of $33.50, suggesting a potential upside of 4.98%. Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust has a consensus price target of $16.00, suggesting a potential upside of 37.81%. Given Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust is more favorable than Weingarten Realty Investors.

Volatility and Risk

Weingarten Realty Investors has a beta of 0.72, suggesting that its share price is 28% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust has a beta of 1.19, suggesting that its share price is 19% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Weingarten Realty Investors pays an annual dividend of $1.54 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.8%. Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 11.7%. Weingarten Realty Investors pays out 104.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust pays out -74.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Weingarten Realty Investors has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years. Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Summary

Weingarten Realty Investors beats Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Weingarten Realty Investors

Weingarten Realty Investors is a real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company’s primary business is leasing space to tenants in the shopping centers it owns or leases. The Company also provides property management services. The Company is in the business of owning, managing and developing retail shopping centers. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had owned or operated under long-term leases, either directly or through its interest in real estate joint ventures or partnerships, a total of 220 centers, primarily neighborhood and community shopping centers, which were located in 18 states spanning the country from coast to coast with approximately 44.7 million square feet of gross leasable area. Its centers are located principally in the South, West Coast and Southeast Coast of the United States with concentrations in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. It also owned interests in 28 parcels of land that totaled approximately 19.8 million square feet, as of December 31, 2016.

About Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust

Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc. is a self-managed commercial real estate investment company. The Company focuses on acquiring and managing retail properties with a primary focus on grocery-anchored centers. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned a portfolio consisting of 74 properties, including 59 retail shopping centers and five freestanding retail properties totaling 4,906,511 gross leasable square feet of which approximately 94% were leased, one office property, eight undeveloped land parcels totaling approximately 70 acres and one redevelopment project. Its properties are located in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Its properties include Alex City Marketplace, Berkley Shopping Center, Clover Plaza, Darien Shopping Center, Cypress Shopping Center, Harrodsburg Marketplace, LaGrange Marketplace, Riverbridge Shopping Center and Village of Martinsville.

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