Contrasting Stellarone Corp (STEL) and Southern First Bancshares (SFST)

Stellarone Corp (NASDAQ: STEL) and Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) are both finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, analyst recommendations, risk, earnings, profitability, institutional ownership and valuation.

Profitability

This table compares Stellarone Corp and Southern First Bancshares’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Stellarone Corp N/A N/A N/A
Southern First Bancshares 21.10% 11.10% 0.97%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent recommendations for Stellarone Corp and Southern First Bancshares, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Stellarone Corp 0 0 0 0 N/A
Southern First Bancshares 0 1 2 0 2.67

Southern First Bancshares has a consensus target price of $38.67, indicating a potential downside of 1.11%. Given Southern First Bancshares’ higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Southern First Bancshares is more favorable than Stellarone Corp.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

70.2% of Southern First Bancshares shares are held by institutional investors. 12.9% of Southern First Bancshares shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Stellarone Corp and Southern First Bancshares’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Stellarone Corp N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Southern First Bancshares $62.04 million 4.61 $13.03 million $1.99 19.65

Southern First Bancshares has higher revenue and earnings than Stellarone Corp.

Summary

Southern First Bancshares beats Stellarone Corp on 8 of the 8 factors compared between the two stocks.

Stellarone Corp Company Profile

StellarOne Corporation is a bank holding company of StellarOne Bank (the Bank). The Bank is an independent commercial bank holding company. It offers services provided by full-service banks, including individual and commercial demand and time deposit accounts, commercial and consumer loans, residential mortgages, credit card services and deposit services. The Bank, through its commercial banking segment, offers Internet banking access for banking services, mobile banking and online bill payment for both consumers and commercial customers. Lending is focused on individuals and small to middle-market businesses in the local markets of the Bank. The Bank, through its wealth management segment, provides a variety of wealth management and personal trust services. The mortgage banking segment engages primarily in the origination and acquisition of residential mortgages for sale into the secondary market. In January 2014, Union First Market Bankshares Corp acquired StellarOne Corporation.

Southern First Bancshares Company Profile

Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is a bank holding company that owns the capital stock of Southern First Bank (the Bank), a South Carolina state bank, and all of the stock of Greenville First Statutory Trust I and II (the Trusts). The Bank is a commercial bank with approximately nine retail offices located in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina. The Bank is primarily engaged in the business of accepting demand deposits and savings deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the FDIC) and providing commercial, consumer and mortgage loans to the public. In addition to deposit and loan services, the Company offers other bank services, such as Internet banking, cash management services, safe deposit boxes, direct deposit and automatic drafts for various accounts. The Bank offers a range of lending services, including real estate, commercial, and equity-line consumer loans to individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses, and professional firms.

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