Critical Analysis: Lee Enterprises (LEE) & News (NWS)

Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) and News (NASDAQ:NWS) are both cyclical consumer goods & services companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, profitability, valuation, dividends, earnings and risk.

Profitability

This table compares Lee Enterprises and News’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Lee Enterprises 4.30% -16.83% 2.88%
News -7.96% 2.27% 1.74%

Risk & Volatility

Lee Enterprises has a beta of 2.16, meaning that its share price is 116% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, News has a beta of 1.85, meaning that its share price is 85% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Lee Enterprises and News, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Lee Enterprises 0 0 0 0 N/A
News 0 0 1 0 3.00

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Lee Enterprises and News’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Lee Enterprises $614.36 million 0.22 $34.96 million $0.45 5.33
News $8.14 billion 1.18 -$738.00 million ($1.13) -14.56

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

Dividends

News pays an annual dividend of $0.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.2%. Lee Enterprises does not pay a dividend. News pays out -17.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

32.0% of Lee Enterprises shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 9.5% of News shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.9% of Lee Enterprises shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 39.4% of News shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

News beats Lee Enterprises on 8 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Lee Enterprises Company Profile

Lee Enterprises, Incorporated is a provider of local news and information, and a platform for print and digital advertising. The Company’s products included 46 daily and 34 Sunday newspapers, 300 weekly newspapers, and classified and niche publications, as of September 25, 2016. The Company also provides a range of digital products, including video, digital couponing, behavioral targeting, audience retargeting, banner advertisements and social networking. It provides digital marketing services to small and midsized businesses (SMBs), including search engine marketing (SEM), social media, audience extension, business profiles, and Website hosting and design. It offers small business solutions, including search engine optimization (SEO), local online marketing, social media marketing, video advertising and Website design. The markets it caters to are located primarily in the Midwest, Mountain West and West regions of the United States.

News Company Profile

News Corporation is a diversified media and information services company. The Company operates in five segments: News and Information Services, Cable Network Programming, Digital Real Estate Services, Book Publishing, and Other. The Company’s business consists of range of media, including news and information services, sports programming in Australia, digital real estate services, book publishing, and pay-television (TV) distribution in Australia, that are distributed under the brands, including The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Herald Sun, The Sun, The Times, HarperCollins Publishers, FOX SPORTS Australia and realestate.com.au. The Company is a developing provider of digital education content, assessment and delivery services. The Company’s business component includes News and Information Services, Cable Network Programming, Digital Real Estate Services, Book Publishing, Amplify and Foxtel. In July 2014, it completed the acquisition of Harlequin Enterprises from Torstar Corp.

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