Venoco (NYSE: VQ) and Encana (NYSE:ECA) are both energy companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, valuation, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, profitability, risk and earnings.

Dividends

Encana pays an annual dividend of $0.06 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. Venoco does not pay a dividend. Encana pays out 7.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Venoco and Encana’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Venoco N/A N/A N/A $1.24 N/A
Encana $2.92 billion 4.04 -$944.00 million $0.79 15.33

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

Profitability

This table compares Venoco and Encana’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Venoco N/A N/A N/A
Encana 19.08% 5.95% 2.64%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

69.0% of Encana shares are held by institutional investors. 0.1% of Encana shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Venoco and Encana, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Venoco 0 0 0 0 N/A
Encana 0 4 15 2 2.90

Encana has a consensus price target of $14.45, suggesting a potential upside of 19.30%.

Summary

Encana beats Venoco on 9 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

Venoco Company Profile

Venoco, Inc. is an independent energy company primarily engaged in the acquisition, exploration, exploitation and development of oil and natural gas properties. Venoco‚Äôs principal producing properties are located both onshore and offshore Southern California and onshore in California’s Sacramento Basin, and are characterized by long reserve lives, predictable production profiles and substantial opportunities for further exploitation and development. The Company is also pursuing a exploration and development project targeting the onshore Monterey shale formation in Southern California. As of December 31, 2011, it had identified 775 drilling locations on its Southern California and Sacramento Basin properties and 15 probable onshore Monterey shale locations at the Sevier field.

Encana Company Profile

Encana Corporation is an energy producer that is focused on developing its multi-basin portfolio of natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) producing plays. The Company’s operations also include the marketing of natural gas, oil and NGLs. All of its reserves and production are located in North America. It operates through three segments: Canadian Operations, USA Operations and Market optimization. Its Canadian Operations segment includes the exploration for, development of, and production of natural gas oil and NGLs and other related activities within Canada. Its Canadian operations include Montney in northeast British Columbia and northwest Alberta and Duvernay in west central Alberta. The USA Operations include the exploration for, development of, and production of natural gas, oil and NGLs, and other related activities within the United States. The Market Optimization activities are primarily responsible for the sale of the Company’s production to third party customers.

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