Vistra Energy (NYSE: VST) and Spark Energy (NASDAQ:SPKE) are both utilities companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations, valuation, earnings, risk and dividends.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Vistra Energy and Spark Energy’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Vistra Energy $5.16 billion 1.48 $22.69 billion $55.35 0.32
Spark Energy $546.70 million 0.70 $14.44 million $0.81 13.58

Vistra Energy has higher revenue and earnings than Spark Energy. Vistra Energy is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Spark Energy, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

35.3% of Spark Energy shares are owned by institutional investors. 66.9% of Spark Energy shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Vistra Energy and Spark Energy, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Vistra Energy 0 2 8 0 2.80
Spark Energy 0 2 4 0 2.67

Vistra Energy currently has a consensus price target of $20.45, indicating a potential upside of 14.57%. Spark Energy has a consensus price target of $22.08, indicating a potential upside of 100.76%. Given Spark Energy’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Spark Energy is more favorable than Vistra Energy.

Dividends

Spark Energy pays an annual dividend of $0.73 per share and has a dividend yield of 6.6%. Vistra Energy does not pay a dividend. Spark Energy pays out 90.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future.

Profitability

This table compares Vistra Energy and Spark Energy’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Vistra Energy 416.84% 352.77% 158.86%
Spark Energy 1.84% 10.49% 3.38%

Summary

Vistra Energy beats Spark Energy on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Vistra Energy

Vistra Energy Corp, formerly TCEH Corp. is a holding company. The Company is an energy company, which is focused on energy and power generation markets through operation as a generator and retailer of electricity in Texas market. Its portfolio of businesses consists primarily of Luminant and TXU Energy. It is engaged in electricity market activities in Texas, including electricity generation, wholesale energy sales and purchases, commodity risk management activities and retail electricity operations. Luminant generates and sells electricity and related products from its fleet of generation facilities totaling approximately 17,000 megawatts of generation in Texas, including 2,300 megawatts fueled by nuclear power, 8,000 megawatts fueled by coal and 6,000 megawatts fueled by natural gas. The Company is a purchaser of wind-generated electricity. TXU Energy sells retail electricity and services to approximately 1.7 million residential and business customers in Texas.

About Spark Energy

Spark Energy, Inc. is an independent retail energy services company. The Company provides residential and commercial customers across the United States with an alternative choice for their natural gas and electricity. The Company operates through two segments: Retail Natural Gas Segment and Retail Electricity Segment. The Retail Natural Gas segment consists of natural gas sales to, and natural gas transportation and distribution for, residential and commercial customers. It purchases natural gas supply through physical and financial transactions with market counterparts and supplies natural gas to residential and commercial consumers pursuant to fixed-price and variable-price. The Retail Electricity segment consists of electricity sales and transmission to residential and commercial customers. The Company has approximately 774,000 renewable energy credits (RCEs). As of July 5, 2017, the Company operates in 94 utility service territories across 19 states and the District of Columbia.

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