Cousins Properties (NYSE: CUZ) and Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, profitability, institutional ownership, earnings, dividends, risk and analyst recommendations.
This table compares Cousins Properties and Liberty Property Trust’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.
|Net Margins||Return on Equity||Return on Assets|
|Liberty Property Trust||47.78%||11.41%||5.69%|
Institutional and Insider Ownership
91.8% of Liberty Property Trust shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.1% of Cousins Properties shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 1.5% of Liberty Property Trust shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.
Earnings and Valuation
This table compares Cousins Properties and Liberty Property Trust’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.
|Gross Revenue||Price/Sales Ratio||NetIncome||Earnings Per Share||Price/Earnings Ratio|
|Cousins Properties||$259.21 million||14.81||$79.10 million||$0.54||16.93|
|Liberty Property Trust||$746.71 million||8.80||$356.81 million||$2.37||18.81|
Liberty Property Trust has higher revenue and earnings than Cousins Properties. Cousins Properties is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Liberty Property Trust, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.
This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Cousins Properties and Liberty Property Trust, as reported by MarketBeat.
|Sell Ratings||Hold Ratings||Buy Ratings||Strong Buy Ratings||Rating Score|
|Liberty Property Trust||0||4||3||0||2.43|
Cousins Properties presently has a consensus target price of $10.13, suggesting a potential upside of 10.78%. Liberty Property Trust has a consensus target price of $43.40, suggesting a potential downside of 2.67%. Given Cousins Properties’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Cousins Properties is more favorable than Liberty Property Trust.
Cousins Properties pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. Liberty Property Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. Cousins Properties pays out 44.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Liberty Property Trust pays out 67.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Cousins Properties has increased its dividend for 2 consecutive years and Liberty Property Trust has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years. Liberty Property Trust is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.
Volatility and Risk
Cousins Properties has a beta of 1.1, suggesting that its share price is 10% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Liberty Property Trust has a beta of 0.87, suggesting that its share price is 13% less volatile than the S&P 500.
Liberty Property Trust beats Cousins Properties on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.
About Cousins Properties
Cousins Properties Incorporated is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust. The Company’s segments include Office, Mixed-Use, Other, Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix and Other. It develops, acquires, leases, manages and owns primarily Class A office properties and opportunistic mixed-use developments in Sunbelt markets with a focus on Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. It manages a 15.8 million-square-foot trophy office portfolio in the Sun Belt markets of Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa and Tempe. As of December 31, 2016, its portfolio of real estate assets consisted of interests in 16.2 million square feet of office space and 786,000 square feet of mixed-use space. The Company, through Cousins TRS Services LLC, owns and manages its own real estate portfolio and performs certain real estate related services for other parties. Its properties include Colorado Tower, 816 Congress, Promenade and Gateway Village.
About Liberty Property Trust
Liberty Property Trust (the Trust) is a self-administered and self-managed Maryland real estate investment trust (REIT). The Trust’s assets are owned directly or indirectly, and substantially all of the Trust’s operations are conducted directly or indirectly, by its subsidiary, Liberty Property Limited Partnership (the Operating Partnership). The Company’s segments include Carolinas/Richmond; Chicago/Milwaukee; Florida; Houston; Lehigh/Central PA; Minnesota; Philadelphia; Southeastern PA; United Kingdom, and Other, which includes Arizona; Atlanta; Cincinnati/Columbus/Indianapolis; Dallas; DC Metro; New Jersey; Southern California, and other. The Company owns and operates industrial properties nationally and owns and operates office properties in a focused group of office markets. Additionally, the Company owns certain assets in the United Kingdom. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned and operated 450 industrial and 55 office properties totaling 86.0 million square feet.
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