L.B. Foster (NASDAQ: FSTR) and SunCoke Energy (NYSE:SXC) are both small-cap basic materials companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, dividends, valuation, institutional ownership, profitability, risk and analyst recommendations.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

71.1% of L.B. Foster shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 90.2% of SunCoke Energy shares are held by institutional investors. 15.2% of L.B. Foster shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 3.9% of SunCoke Energy shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares L.B. Foster and SunCoke Energy’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
L.B. Foster $484.77 million 0.49 $23.17 million ($4.49) -5.07
SunCoke Energy $1.25 billion 0.47 $226.00 million N/A N/A

SunCoke Energy has higher revenue and earnings than L.B. Foster.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for L.B. Foster and SunCoke Energy, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
L.B. Foster 0 0 0 0 N/A
SunCoke Energy 0 0 1 0 3.00

SunCoke Energy has a consensus target price of $11.00, suggesting a potential upside of 20.35%. Given SunCoke Energy’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe SunCoke Energy is more favorable than L.B. Foster.


This table compares L.B. Foster and SunCoke Energy’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
L.B. Foster -9.83% -27.82% -10.07%
SunCoke Energy -0.01% 3.27% 0.90%

Risk and Volatility

L.B. Foster has a beta of 2.21, suggesting that its share price is 121% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, SunCoke Energy has a beta of 1.24, suggesting that its share price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500.


SunCoke Energy beats L.B. Foster on 8 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

About L.B. Foster

L.B. Foster Company is a manufacturer, fabricator and distributor of products and services for the rail, construction, energy and utility markets. The Company’s segments include Rail Products and Services, Construction Products, and Tubular and Energy Services. Its Rail Products segment provides a range of new and used rail, trackwork and accessories to railroads, mines and industry. The Rail segment designs and produces concrete railroad ties, insulated rail joints, power rail, track fasteners, coverboards and special accessories for mass transit and other rail systems. The Construction Products segment sells and rents steel sheet piling, H-bearing pile and other piling products for foundation and earth retention requirements. The Tubular and Energy Services segment supplies pipe coatings for natural gas pipelines and utilities, blending, injection and metering equipment for the oil and gas market, and produces threaded pipe products for industrial water well and irrigation markets.

About SunCoke Energy

SunCoke Energy, Inc. is a producer of coke in the Americas. The Company’s segments include Domestic Coke, Brazil Coke, Coal Logistics, and Corporate and Other. The Domestic Coke segment consists of its Jewell Coke Company, L.P. (Jewell), Indiana Harbor Coke Company (Indiana Harbor), Haverhill Coke Company LLC (Haverhill), Gateway Energy and Coke Company, LLC (Granite City) and Middletown Coke Company, LLC (Middletown) cokemaking and heat recovery operations. The Brazil Coke segment consists of its operations in Vitoria, Brazil, where the Company operate a cokemaking facility, ArcelorMittal Brasil S.A. The Coal Logistics segment consists of its Convent Marine Terminal (CMT), Kanawha River Terminals, LLC (KRT), SunCoke Lake Terminal, LLC (Lake Terminal) and Dismal River Terminal, LLC (DRT) coal handling and/or mixing service operations. It designs, develops, builds, owns and operates five cokemaking facilities in the United States, as of December 31, 2016.

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