First Financial Holdings (NASDAQ: FFCH) and Hancock Holding (NASDAQ:HBHC) are both finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, institutional ownership, risk, valuation, dividends, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

Hancock Holding pays an annual dividend of $0.96 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.2%. First Financial Holdings does not pay a dividend. Hancock Holding pays out 40.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Profitability

This table compares First Financial Holdings and Hancock Holding’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
First Financial Holdings N/A N/A N/A
Hancock Holding 18.91% 7.85% 0.85%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

77.4% of Hancock Holding shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.2% of Hancock Holding shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares First Financial Holdings and Hancock Holding’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
First Financial Holdings N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hancock Holding $905.12 million 4.12 $203.38 million $2.40 18.35

Hancock Holding has higher revenue and earnings than First Financial Holdings.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for First Financial Holdings and Hancock Holding, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
First Financial Holdings 0 0 0 0 N/A
Hancock Holding 0 4 4 1 2.67

Hancock Holding has a consensus target price of $48.89, indicating a potential upside of 10.99%. Given Hancock Holding’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Hancock Holding is more favorable than First Financial Holdings.

Summary

Hancock Holding beats First Financial Holdings on 10 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

First Financial Holdings Company Profile

First Financial Holdings, Inc. (First Financial) operates through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Charleston (First Federal) and loan association. Other subsidiaries of First Financial include First Southeast Insurance Services, Inc. (First Southeast Insurance), which is an insurance agency; Kimbrell Insurance Group, Inc. (Kimbrell), which is a managing general insurance agency; First Southeast 401(k) Fiduciaries, Inc. (First Southeast 401(k)), which provides retirement plan consulting and administrative services, and First Southeast Investor Services, Inc. (First Southeast Investors), which is a registered broker-dealer. On July 26, 2013, First Financial Holdings, Inc. merged with and into First Financial Holdings, Inc. (formerly SCBT Financial Corporation) with the Company ceasing to exist and First Financial Holdings, Inc. continuing as the surviving corporation.

Hancock Holding Company Profile

Hancock Holding Company is a financial services company that provides a network of service financial choices to the Gulf South region, through its bank subsidiary, Whitney Bank (the Bank), a Mississippi state bank. The Company operates through overall banking operations segment. The Bank operates under brands, such as Hancock Bank in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, and Whitney Bank in Louisiana and Texas. The Bank operates across the Gulf South region, which consists of southern Mississippi; southern and central Alabama; southern Louisiana; the northern, central, and panhandle regions of Florida; Houston, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee. The Bank offers a range of traditional and online community banking services to commercial, small business and retail customers, providing a range of transaction and savings deposit products, treasury management services and investment brokerage services, among others.

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