Noble (NYSE:NE) and Pacific Drilling (NYSE:PACD) are both small-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, institutional ownership, risk, earnings, profitability, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Noble and Pacific Drilling, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Noble 4 14 3 0 1.95
Pacific Drilling 0 0 1 0 3.00

Noble currently has a consensus price target of $5.74, indicating a potential upside of 88.29%. Given Noble’s higher possible upside, research analysts clearly believe Noble is more favorable than Pacific Drilling.


This table compares Noble and Pacific Drilling’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Noble -81.74% -9.16% -4.73%
Pacific Drilling -823.90% -117.35% -45.47%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Noble and Pacific Drilling’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Noble $1.08 billion 0.70 -$885.05 million ($1.84) -1.66
Pacific Drilling $264.87 million 4.08 -$2.18 billion N/A N/A

Noble has higher revenue and earnings than Pacific Drilling.

Risk and Volatility

Noble has a beta of 2.68, suggesting that its share price is 168% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Pacific Drilling has a beta of 2.43, suggesting that its share price is 143% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

86.6% of Noble shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 82.7% of Pacific Drilling shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.0% of Noble shares are owned by company 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.


Noble beats Pacific Drilling on 10 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

Noble Company Profile

Noble Corporation plc operates as an offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry worldwide. It provides contract drilling services using mobile offshore drilling units. As of December 31, 2017, the company operated a fleet of 8 drill ships, 6 semisubmersibles, and 14 jack ups. Noble Corporation plc was founded in 1921 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom.

Pacific Drilling Company Profile

Pacific Drilling S.A., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an offshore drilling contractor. It provides offshore drilling services to the oil and natural gas industry. The company contracts its fleet of rigs to drill wells for its customers. It has a fleet of seven drillships. The company was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas. Pacific Drilling S.A. is a subsidiary of Quantum Pacific International Limited.

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