Financial Review: Highwoods Properties (NYSE:HIW) & Equinix (NYSE:EQIX)

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Highwoods Properties (NYSE:HIW) and Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX) are both finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, dividends, earnings, profitability, valuation, institutional ownership and risk.

Dividends

Highwoods Properties pays an annual dividend of $1.90 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.3%. Equinix pays an annual dividend of $9.84 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.9%. Highwoods Properties pays out 55.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Equinix pays out 47.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Highwoods Properties has raised its dividend for 2 consecutive years and Equinix has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

93.4% of Highwoods Properties shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 99.6% of Equinix shares are held by institutional investors. 1.9% of Highwoods Properties shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.5% of Equinix shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Highwoods Properties and Equinix’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Highwoods Properties 20.42% 6.59% 3.10%
Equinix 8.06% 5.66% 2.02%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings for Highwoods Properties and Equinix, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Highwoods Properties 1 0 3 0 2.50
Equinix 1 1 14 1 2.88

Highwoods Properties presently has a consensus target price of $51.00, suggesting a potential upside of 16.31%. Equinix has a consensus target price of $511.25, suggesting a potential downside of 1.97%. Given Highwoods Properties’ higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Highwoods Properties is more favorable than Equinix.

Volatility & Risk

Highwoods Properties has a beta of 0.8, meaning that its share price is 20% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Equinix has a beta of 0.73, meaning that its share price is 27% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Highwoods Properties and Equinix’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Highwoods Properties $720.03 million 6.31 $171.83 million $3.45 12.71
Equinix $5.07 billion 8.32 $365.36 million $20.69 25.21

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

Summary

Equinix beats Highwoods Properties on 11 of the 18 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Highwoods Properties

Highwoods Properties, Inc., headquartered in Raleigh, is a publicly-traded (NYSE:HIW) real estate investment trust (“REIT”) and a member of the S&P MidCap 400 Index. The Company is a fully-integrated office REIT that owns, develops, acquires, leases and manages properties primarily in the best business districts (BBDs) of Atlanta, Greensboro, Memphis, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Richmond and Tampa.

About Equinix

Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) connects the world's leading businesses to their customers, employees and partners inside the most-interconnected data centers. In 52 markets across five continents, Equinix is where companies come together to realize new opportunities and accelerate their business, IT and cloud strategies.

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