HFF (NYSE: HF) and Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) are both finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, profitability, institutional ownership, earnings, valuation, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Risk & Volatility

HFF has a beta of 1.18, indicating that its stock price is 18% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Jones Lang LaSalle has a beta of 1.8, indicating that its stock price is 80% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Jones Lang LaSalle pays an annual dividend of $0.70 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. HFF does not pay a dividend. Jones Lang LaSalle pays out 10.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. HFF has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

87.1% of HFF shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 90.3% of Jones Lang LaSalle shares are held by institutional investors. 5.7% of HFF shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of Jones Lang LaSalle shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares HFF and Jones Lang LaSalle’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
HFF 15.51% 40.20% 8.06%
Jones Lang LaSalle 4.14% 12.04% 4.67%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares HFF and Jones Lang LaSalle’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
HFF $542.82 million 3.01 $84.87 million $2.20 19.24
Jones Lang LaSalle $7.31 billion 0.82 $651.60 million $6.62 19.87

Jones Lang LaSalle has higher revenue and earnings than HFF. HFF is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Jones Lang LaSalle, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for HFF and Jones Lang LaSalle, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
HFF 1 2 1 0 2.00
Jones Lang LaSalle 0 3 4 0 2.57

HFF currently has a consensus price target of $28.00, suggesting a potential downside of 33.85%. Jones Lang LaSalle has a consensus price target of $131.80, suggesting a potential upside of 0.21%. Given Jones Lang LaSalle’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Jones Lang LaSalle is more favorable than HFF.

Summary

Jones Lang LaSalle beats HFF on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

HFF Company Profile

HFF, Inc. is a holding company. The Company holds the partnership interests in Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. and HFF Securities L.P. (together, the Operating Partnerships), held through the subsidiary HFF Partnership Holdings, LLC, and all of the outstanding shares of Holliday GP Corp. (Holliday GP). The Company operates through the commercial real estate financial intermediary segment. It offers debt placement, investment sales, distressed debt and real estate owned advisory services, equity placement, investment banking and advisory services, loan sales and commercial loan servicing. Its fully-integrated national capital markets platform, coupled with its knowledge of the commercial real estate markets provides an range of capital markets services, including Debt placement; Investment sales; Distressed debt and real estate owned advisory services; Equity placement; Investment banking and advisory services; Loan sales; and Commercial loan servicing.

Jones Lang LaSalle Company Profile

Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) is a financial and professional services company specializing in real estate. The Company operates through four business segments: Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Asia Pacific, and LaSalle. It offers integrated services on a local, regional and global basis to owner, occupier, investor and developer clients. It delivers various real estate services (RES) across three geographic business segments: the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Its RES is organized into five product categories: leasing; capital markets and hotels; property and facility management; project and development services, and advisory, consulting and other services. LaSalle offers clients with real estate investment products and services, such as private investments in multiple real estate property types, including office, industrial, healthcare and multifamily residential. LaSalle enables clients to invest in separate accounts focused on public real estate equities.

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