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Critical Review: SouthState (NASDAQ:SSB) Versus Investar (NASDAQ:ISTR)

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SouthState (NASDAQ:SSB – Get Rating) and Investar (NASDAQ:ISTR – Get Rating) are both finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, valuation, profitability, dividends, institutional ownership and earnings.

Dividends

SouthState pays an annual dividend of $2.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Investar pays an annual dividend of $0.38 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.9%. SouthState pays out 32.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Investar pays out 23.6% 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. SouthState has raised its dividend for 11 consecutive years and Investar has raised its dividend for 8 consecutive years. SouthState is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

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Institutional and Insider Ownership

86.9% of SouthState shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 58.8% of Investar shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.9% of SouthState shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 10.3% of Investar shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for SouthState and Investar, as provided by MarketBeat.com.
Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
SouthState 0 1 4 0 2.80
Investar 0 1 0 0 2.00

SouthState presently has a consensus price target of $93.08, suggesting a potential upside of 16.25%. Investar has a consensus price target of $23.00, suggesting a potential upside of 13.92%. Given SouthState's stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe SouthState is more favorable than Investar.

Volatility & Risk

SouthState has a beta of 0.75, suggesting that its stock price is 25% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Investar has a beta of 0.47, suggesting that its stock price is 53% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares SouthState and Investar's gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
SouthState $1.44 billion 4.21 $475.54 million $6.22 12.87
Investar $107.58 million 1.88 $8.00 million $1.61 12.54

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

Profitability

This table compares SouthState and Investar's net margins, return on equity and return on assets .

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
SouthState 30.18% 9.98% 1.13%
Investar 14.40% 3.54% 0.32%

Summary

SouthState beats Investar on 15 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About SouthState

(Get Rating)

SouthState Corporation operates as the bank holding company for SouthState Bank, National Association that provides a range of banking services and products to individuals and companies. It accepts checking accounts, savings deposits, interest-bearing transaction accounts, certificates of deposits, money market accounts, and other time deposits. The company also offers commercial real estate loans, residential real estate loans, commercial, and industrial loans, as well as consumer loans, including auto, boat, and personal installment loans. In addition, it provides debit card, mobile and funds transfer products, and treasury management services comprising merchant, automated clearing house, lock-box, remote deposit capture, and other treasury services. Further, the company offers safe deposit boxes, bank money orders, wire transfer, brokerage services, and alternative investment products, including annuities, mutual funds , and trust and asset management services; and credit cards, letters of credit, and home equity lines of credit. As of December 31, 2021, it served customers through 281 branches in Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. SouthState Corporation also serves its customers through online, mobile, and telephone banking platforms. The company was formerly known as First Financial Holdings, Inc. and changed its name to SouthState Corporation in July 2013. SouthState Corporation was founded in 1933 and is headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida.

About Investar

(Get Rating)

Investar Holding Corporation operates as the bank holding company for Investar Bank that provides a range of commercial banking products to individuals and small to medium-sized businesses in South Louisiana. The company offers various deposit products and services, such as savings, checking, money market, and individual retirement accounts, as well as various certificates of deposit; debit cards; and mobile banking services. It also provides commercial real estate loans; commercial and industrial loans, including working capital lines of credit and equipment loans; loans for the construction of commercial projects, and single family residential and multifamily properties; one-to-four family residential real estate lending, such as second mortgage loans; consumer loans, such as secured and unsecured installment and term loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, and auto loans, as well as loans for personal, family, and household purposes. In addition, the company offers cash management products, including remote deposit capture, virtual vault, electronic statements, positive pay, ACH origination and wire transfer, investment sweep accounts, and business Internet banking services. Further, it provides various other banking services, such as cashiers' checks, direct deposit of payroll and social security checks, night depository, bank-by-mail, automated teller machine, interactive teller machines, merchant card, and mobile wallet payment services. The company operates through a network of 24 full service branches. Investar Holding Corporation was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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