Rocket Fuel (FUEL) & Autobytel (ABTL) Head-To-Head Review

Rocket Fuel (NASDAQ: FUEL) and Autobytel (NASDAQ:ABTL) are both small-cap cyclical consumer goods & services companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, earnings, analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership and risk.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

40.4% of Rocket Fuel shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 58.6% of Autobytel shares are owned by institutional investors. 34.9% of Rocket Fuel shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 12.8% of Autobytel shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Rocket Fuel and Autobytel’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Rocket Fuel -20.05% -120.35% -28.17%
Autobytel 3.15% 10.96% 8.20%

Risk and Volatility

Rocket Fuel has a beta of 0.63, suggesting that its share price is 37% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Autobytel has a beta of 0.97, suggesting that its share price is 3% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Rocket Fuel and Autobytel’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Rocket Fuel $420.47 million 0.29 -$16.55 million ($1.50) -1.73
Autobytel $156.22 million 0.50 $14.97 million $0.37 18.97

Autobytel has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Rocket Fuel. Rocket Fuel is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Autobytel, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Rocket Fuel and Autobytel, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Rocket Fuel 1 3 1 0 2.00
Autobytel 0 1 1 0 2.50

Rocket Fuel currently has a consensus price target of $3.65, suggesting a potential upside of 40.38%. Autobytel has a consensus price target of $20.00, suggesting a potential upside of 184.90%. Given Autobytel’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Autobytel is more favorable than Rocket Fuel.

Summary

Autobytel beats Rocket Fuel on 10 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Rocket Fuel

Rocket Fuel Inc. is a technology company, which offers a Programmatic Marketing Platform that is designed for helping marketers and their agencies to connect with consumers through digital media. The Company’s service offerings are organized around platforms, including Data Management Platform (DMP) and Demand Side Platform (DSP), which are used by customers themselves or integrating with other customer relationship management or marketing platforms, and together in various permutations as its Programmatic Marketing Platform. The integrated platform is designed to deliver and optimize media spend to engage, upsell and retarget consumers across addressable channels, including display, mobile and video, and across addressable devices, such as tablets, set top boxes, television and mobile phones. It offers Programmatic Marketing Platform as a managed service, which it operate on behalf of its customers, and as a self-service platform operated by its customers or their agencies directly.

About Autobytel

Autobytel Inc. is an automotive marketing services company that assists automotive retail dealers and automotive manufacturers market and sell new and used vehicles to consumers through the programs for online lead referrals, dealer marketing products and services, and online advertising programs and mobile products. The Company operates through providing automotive marketing services segment. Its consumer-facing automotive Websites, including Website Autobytel.com, provide consumers with information and tools to aid them with the automotive purchase decisions and ability to submit inquiries requesting dealers to contact the consumers regarding purchasing or leasing vehicles. Its AutoWeb pay-per-click advertising marketplace program uses technology to refer consumer traffic to dealers and manufacturer Websites. For consumers who may not be able to secure loans through conventional lending sources, the Websites provide these consumers the ability to submit inquiries requesting dealers.

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