Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO) and Comstock Mining (NYSE:LODE) are both basic materials companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, risk, analyst recommendations, earnings, dividends, profitability and institutional ownership.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

6.9% of Rio Tinto PLC shares are owned by institutional investors. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Rio Tinto PLC and Comstock Mining’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Rio Tinto PLC N/A N/A N/A
Comstock Mining -10,715.09% -98.83% -35.84%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Rio Tinto PLC and Comstock Mining’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Rio Tinto PLC $37.60 billion 2.28 $15.22 billion N/A N/A
Comstock Mining $1.61 million 22.05 -$4.19 million N/A N/A

Rio Tinto PLC has higher revenue and earnings than Comstock Mining.

Dividends

Rio Tinto PLC pays an annual dividend of $2.37 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.0%. Comstock Mining does not pay a dividend.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Rio Tinto PLC and Comstock Mining, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Rio Tinto PLC 1 3 14 0 2.72
Comstock Mining 0 0 0 0 N/A

Rio Tinto PLC currently has a consensus price target of $47.67, indicating a potential downside of 0.32%. Given Rio Tinto PLC’s higher possible upside, research analysts clearly believe Rio Tinto PLC is more favorable than Comstock Mining.

Summary

Rio Tinto PLC beats Comstock Mining on 9 of the 10 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Rio Tinto PLC

Rio Tinto plc is a mining and metals company. The Company’s business is finding, mining and processing mineral resources. The Company’s segments include Iron Ore, Aluminium, Copper & Diamonds, Energy & Minerals and Other Operations. The Company operates an iron ore business, supplying the global seaborne iron ore trade. Its Iron Ore product operations are located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Aluminium business includes bauxite mines, alumina refineries and aluminum smelters. Its bauxite mines are located in Australia, Brazil and Guinea. The Copper & Diamonds segment has managed operations in Australia, Canada, Mongolia and the United States, and non-managed operations in Chile and Indonesia. The Energy & Minerals segment consists of mining, refining and marketing operations in over 10 countries, across six sectors: borates, coal, iron ore concentrate and pellets, salt, titanium dioxide and uranium.

About Comstock Mining

Comstock Mining Inc. is a gold and silver mining company. The Company holds properties in the Comstock and Silver City mining districts (collectively, the Comstock District). The Company’s segments include mining and real estate. The mining segment consists of the Company’s activities and expenditures associated with mining. The real estate segment consists of land, real estate rental properties, and a hotel, restaurant and bar provided by the Gold Hill Hotel. The Comstock District is located within the western portion of the Basin and Range Province of Nevada, between Reno and Carson City. The Lucerne Resource area is located in Storey County, Nevada, approximately three miles south of Virginia City and over 30 miles southeast of Reno. Its Dayton Resource area is located in Lyon County, Nevada, approximately six miles south of Virginia City. The Company also owns various non-mining properties, including Daney Ranch, the Gold Hill Hotel, and related homes and cottages.

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