National Western Life Group (NASDAQ: NWLI) and FBL Financial Group (NYSE:FFG) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, valuation, analyst recommendations, profitability, earnings, dividends and institutional ownership.

Dividends

National Western Life Group pays an annual dividend of $0.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.1%. FBL Financial Group pays an annual dividend of $1.76 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. National Western Life Group pays out 1.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. FBL Financial Group pays out 38.2% 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. National Western Life Group has increased its dividend for 4 consecutive years.

Volatility & Risk

National Western Life Group has a beta of 1.47, suggesting that its stock price is 47% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, FBL Financial Group has a beta of 0.87, suggesting that its stock price is 13% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and target prices for National Western Life Group and FBL Financial Group, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
National Western Life Group 0 0 0 0 N/A
FBL Financial Group 0 1 0 0 2.00

Institutional & Insider Ownership

79.0% of National Western Life Group shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 28.6% of FBL Financial Group shares are held by institutional investors. 1.0% of National Western Life Group shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.6% of FBL Financial Group shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares National Western Life Group and FBL Financial Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
National Western Life Group 13.10% 5.33% 0.78%
FBL Financial Group 15.70% 9.12% 1.16%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares National Western Life Group and FBL Financial Group’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
National Western Life Group $788.97 million 1.48 $171.25 million $30.07 11.33
FBL Financial Group $736.38 million 2.33 $184.11 million $4.61 14.95

FBL Financial Group has higher revenue, but lower earnings than National Western Life Group. National Western Life Group is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than FBL Financial Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

About National Western Life Group

National Western Life Insurance Company (National Western) is a stock life insurance company. The Company operates in two segments: Domestic Insurance Operations and International Insurance Operations. The products marketed under domestic insurance operations are annuities, universal life insurance and traditional life insurance, which include both term and whole life products. National Western’s international operations focus on foreign nationals in upper socioeconomic classes. The Company provides life insurance products for the savings and protection needs of approximately 126,700 policyholders and for the asset accumulation and retirement needs of 139,100 annuity contract holders. National Western offers a portfolio of individual whole life, universal life and term insurance plans, and annuities, including supplementary riders.

About FBL Financial Group

FBL Financial Group, Inc. sells individual life insurance and annuity products under the brand name of Farm Bureau Financial Services. The Company’s segments are Annuity Segment, which sells a variety of traditional annuity products; Life Insurance Segment, which sells a range of traditional and universal life insurance products, and Corporate and Other segment, which provides various support operations, corporate capital and other product lines. It also offers life and annuity products through its subsidiary, Greenfields Life Insurance Company. Its other subsidiaries support various functional areas and affiliates by providing investment advisory and marketing and distribution services. It manages all aspects of two Farm Bureau affiliated property-casualty insurance companies, Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company and Western Agricultural Insurance Company.

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