Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ) and American Assets Trust (AAT) Financial Survey

American Assets Trust (NYSE: AAT) and Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ) are both finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, risk, earnings, dividends, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Volatility and Risk

American Assets Trust has a beta of 0.4, indicating that its stock price is 60% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Cousins Properties has a beta of 0.99, indicating that its stock price is 1% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

98.7% of American Assets Trust shares are owned by institutional investors. 34.2% of American Assets Trust shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.1% of Cousins Properties shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

American Assets Trust pays an annual dividend of $1.08 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. Cousins Properties pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.8%. American Assets Trust pays out 163.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Cousins Properties pays out 44.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. American Assets Trust has increased its dividend for 4 consecutive years. American Assets Trust is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares American Assets Trust and Cousins Properties’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
American Assets Trust $295.09 million 5.29 $45.63 million $0.66 50.23
Cousins Properties $259.21 million 13.79 $79.10 million $0.54 15.76

Cousins Properties has lower revenue, but higher earnings than American Assets Trust. Cousins Properties is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than American Assets Trust, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for American Assets Trust and Cousins Properties, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
American Assets Trust 0 2 1 0 2.33
Cousins Properties 0 0 4 0 3.00

American Assets Trust presently has a consensus price target of $43.67, indicating a potential upside of 31.72%. Cousins Properties has a consensus price target of $10.13, indicating a potential upside of 18.98%. Given American Assets Trust’s higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe American Assets Trust is more favorable than Cousins Properties.

Profitability

This table compares American Assets Trust and Cousins Properties’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
American Assets Trust 10.90% 3.97% 1.58%
Cousins Properties 48.08% 8.39% 5.42%

Summary

Cousins Properties beats American Assets Trust on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About American Assets Trust

American Assets Trust, Inc. is a full service, vertically integrated and self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company owns, operates, acquires and develops retail, office, multifamily and mixed-use properties in Southern California, Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Hawaii markets. The Company operates in four business segments: retail, office, multifamily and mixed-use. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s portfolio consisted of 11 retail shopping centers; seven office properties; a mixed-use property consisting of a 369-room all-suite hotel and a retail shopping center, and five multifamily properties. Additionally, as of December 31, 2016, the Company owned land at four of its properties that it classified as held for development and construction in progress. The Company’s markets include San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland, Oregon, Bellevue, Washington and Oahu, Hawaii.

About Cousins Properties

Cousins Properties Incorporated is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust. The Company’s segments include Office, Mixed-Use, Other, Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa, Phoenix and Other. It develops, acquires, leases, manages and owns primarily Class A office properties and opportunistic mixed-use developments in Sunbelt markets with a focus on Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. It manages a 15.8 million-square-foot trophy office portfolio in the Sun Belt markets of Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa and Tempe. As of December 31, 2016, its portfolio of real estate assets consisted of interests in 16.2 million square feet of office space and 786,000 square feet of mixed-use space. The Company, through Cousins TRS Services LLC, owns and manages its own real estate portfolio and performs certain real estate related services for other parties. Its properties include Colorado Tower, 816 Congress, Promenade and Gateway Village.

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