Reviewing Capital Southwest Corporation (CSWC) & CM Finance (CMFN)

Capital Southwest Corporation (NASDAQ: CSWC) and CM Finance (NASDAQ:CMFN) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, analyst recommendations, dividends, valuation, risk, profitability and institutional ownership.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

62.1% of Capital Southwest Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 44.1% of CM Finance shares are held by institutional investors. 5.9% of Capital Southwest Corporation shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.8% of CM Finance shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Dividends

Capital Southwest Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.84 per share and has a dividend yield of 5.1%. CM Finance pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 10.4%. Capital Southwest Corporation pays out 51.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. CM Finance pays out 58.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years.

Volatility and Risk

Capital Southwest Corporation has a beta of -0.49, meaning that its stock price is 149% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, CM Finance has a beta of 1.43, meaning that its stock price is 43% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Capital Southwest Corporation and CM Finance’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Capital Southwest Corporation 96.98% 4.34% 3.86%
CM Finance 76.03% 9.42% 5.20%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Capital Southwest Corporation and CM Finance, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Capital Southwest Corporation 0 1 3 0 2.75
CM Finance 0 0 0 0 N/A

Capital Southwest Corporation currently has a consensus price target of $20.25, indicating a potential upside of 23.78%. Given Capital Southwest Corporation’s higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Capital Southwest Corporation is more favorable than CM Finance.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Capital Southwest Corporation and CM Finance’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Capital Southwest Corporation $27.04 million 9.68 $15.36 million $1.64 9.98
CM Finance N/A N/A N/A $1.72 5.61

Capital Southwest Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than CM Finance. CM Finance is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Capital Southwest Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Capital Southwest Corporation beats CM Finance on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Capital Southwest Corporation Company Profile

Capital Southwest Corporation is an investment company that specializes in providing customized financing to middle market companies in a range of industry segments located primarily in the United States. The Company is a specialty lending company. Its principal investment objective is to produce risk-adjusted returns by generating current income from debt investments and capital appreciation from its equity and equity related investments. It focuses on partnering with business owners, management teams and financial sponsors to provide financing solutions to fund growth, changes of control, or other corporate events. In allocating future investments, it focuses on investing in senior and subordinated debt securities secured by security interests in portfolio company assets, coupled with equity interests. It targets senior and subordinated investments in the lower middle market and private loan transactions, as well as first and second lien syndicated loans in middle market companies.

CM Finance Company Profile

CM Finance Inc is an externally managed, non-diversified closed-end management investment company. The Company is a specialty finance company that invests primarily in the debt of the United States middle-market companies. The Company’s primary investment objective is to maximize total return to stockholders in the form of current income and capital appreciation by investing in debt and related equity of privately held lower middle-market companies. As of June 30, 2016, the Company’s portfolio consisted of debt and equity investments in 22 portfolio companies. It invests in unitranche loans and standalone second and first lien loans, with an emphasis on floating rate debt. It also selectively invests in mezzanine loans/structured equity and in the equity of portfolio companies through warrants and other instruments.CM Investment Partners LLC is an external investment advisor of the Company.

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