Comstock Resources (NYSE: CRK) and Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, valuation, profitability, earnings, dividends, analyst recommendations and institutional ownership.

Profitability

This table compares Comstock Resources and Williams Partners’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Comstock Resources -53.79% N/A -9.98%
Williams Partners 17.02% 5.55% 2.90%

Dividends

Williams Partners pays an annual dividend of $2.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.9%. Comstock Resources does not pay a dividend. Williams Partners pays out 171.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Williams Partners has raised its dividend for 4 consecutive years.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Comstock Resources and Williams Partners’ gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Comstock Resources $175.71 million 0.61 -$135.13 million ($9.21) -0.75
Williams Partners $7.49 billion 5.26 $431.00 million $1.40 28.88

Williams Partners has higher revenue and earnings than Comstock Resources. Comstock Resources is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Williams Partners, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility & Risk

Comstock Resources has a beta of -0.3, suggesting that its stock price is 130% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Williams Partners has a beta of 1.43, suggesting that its stock price is 43% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Comstock Resources and Williams Partners, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Comstock Resources 1 2 3 0 2.33
Williams Partners 0 2 8 0 2.80

Comstock Resources presently has a consensus target price of $11.75, indicating a potential upside of 69.31%. Williams Partners has a consensus target price of $45.89, indicating a potential upside of 13.50%. Given Comstock Resources’ higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Comstock Resources is more favorable than Williams Partners.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

52.4% of Comstock Resources shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 22.1% of Williams Partners shares are held by institutional investors. 11.6% of Comstock Resources shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Williams Partners beats Comstock Resources on 13 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Comstock Resources Company Profile

Comstock Resources, Inc. is an energy company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas in the United States. The Company operates in the segment of exploration and production of oil and natural gas. The Company’s oil and gas operations are concentrated in Texas and Louisiana. Its operations are focused in two operating areas: East Texas/North Louisiana and South Texas. The Company’s properties in the East Texas/North Louisiana region include approximately 80,660 acres in the Haynesville or Bossier shale formations. The Company’s Eagleville field includes approximately 30,220 acres located in the oil window of the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas. The Company owns interests in over 1,575 producing oil and natural gas wells, and operates over 950 of these wells. The Company owns interests in over 20 wells in the Rosita field, located in Duval County, Texas.

Williams Partners Company Profile

Williams Partners L.P. is an energy infrastructure company. The Company has operations across the natural gas value chain from gathering, processing, and interstate transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids to petchem production of ethylene, propylene, and other olefins. It operates through its Northeast G&P, Atlantic-Gulf, West segment. Under the Northeast G&P segment, it owns and operates fractionation facilities at Moundsville, de-ethanization and condensate facilities at its Oak Grove processing plant. The Atlantic Gulf segment includes the Company’s interstate natural gas pipeline, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC. The West segment includes its interstate natural gas pipeline, Northwest Pipeline, and natural gas gathering processing and treating operations.

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