HollyFrontier (NYSE: XOM) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) are both large-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, valuation, risk, institutional ownership, dividends, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for HollyFrontier and Exxon Mobil, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
HollyFrontier 3 8 8 0 2.26
Exxon Mobil 4 13 5 1 2.13

HollyFrontier currently has a consensus target price of $61.06, indicating a potential downside of 10.92%. Exxon Mobil has a consensus target price of $87.17, indicating a potential upside of 10.96%. Given Exxon Mobil’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Exxon Mobil is more favorable than HollyFrontier.


This table compares HollyFrontier and Exxon Mobil’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
HollyFrontier 8.62% 12.10% 6.73%
Exxon Mobil 7.64% 8.45% 4.67%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

83.3% of HollyFrontier shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 51.9% of Exxon Mobil shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.6% of HollyFrontier shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.1% of Exxon Mobil shares are owned 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.


HollyFrontier pays an annual dividend of $1.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.9%. Exxon Mobil pays an annual dividend of $3.28 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.2%. HollyFrontier pays out 56.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Exxon Mobil pays out 91.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Exxon Mobil has increased its dividend for 35 consecutive years. Exxon Mobil is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Risk and Volatility

HollyFrontier has a beta of 1.12, meaning that its share price is 12% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Exxon Mobil has a beta of 0.9, meaning that its share price is 10% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares HollyFrontier and Exxon Mobil’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
HollyFrontier $14.25 billion 0.85 $805.39 million $2.32 29.55
Exxon Mobil $244.36 billion 1.36 $19.71 billion $3.59 21.88

Exxon Mobil has higher revenue and earnings than HollyFrontier. Exxon Mobil is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than HollyFrontier, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


HollyFrontier beats Exxon Mobil on 10 of the 18 factors compared between the two stocks.

HollyFrontier Company Profile

HollyFrontier Corporation operates as an independent petroleum refiner in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Refining, Lubricants and Specialty Products, and HEP. It primarily produces high-value light products, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, and specialty lubricant products, as well as specialty and modified asphalt. The company offers its products to other refiners, convenience store chains, independent marketers, retailers, truck stop chains, wholesalers, railroads, governmental entities, paving contractors or manufacturers, and commercial and specialty markets, as well as for commercial airline use. It owns and operates 5 refineries with a combined crude oil processing capacity of approximately 457,000 barrels per day in El Dorado, Kansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Artesia, New Mexico; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Woods Cross, Utah. The company also owns and operates vacuum distillation and other facilities in Lovington, New Mexico, as well as asphalt terminals in Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Its refineries serve markets in the Mid-Continent, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States. In addition, HollyFrontier Corporation produces base oils and other specialized lubricant products; and owns and operates logistic assets consisting of petroleum product and crude oil pipelines, terminals, tankage, loading rack facilities, and refinery processing units. The company was formerly known as Holly Corporation and changed its name to HollyFrontier Corporation as a result of its merger with Frontier Oil Corporation in July 2011. HollyFrontier Corporation was founded in 1947 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

Exxon Mobil Company Profile

Exxon Mobil Corporation explores for and produces crude oil and natural gas in the United States, Canada/Other Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia/Oceania. It operates through Upstream, Downstream, and Chemical segments. The company also manufactures petroleum products; manufactures and markets commodity petrochemicals, including olefins, aromatics, polyethylene, and polypropylene plastics, as well as various specialty products; and transports and sells crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products. As of December 31, 2017, it had approximately 25,827 net operated wells with proved reserves of 21.2 billion oil-equivalent barrels. The company has collaboration agreements with MagnaBond, LLC to develop technologies that enhances evaluation of well cementing, casing, and tubing. Exxon Mobil Corporation was founded in 1870 and is headquartered in Irving, Texas.

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