Financial Contrast: First Financial (THFF) & James River Group (NASDAQ:JRVR)

James River Group (NASDAQ: JRVR) and First Financial (NASDAQ:THFF) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, risk, valuation, dividends, institutional ownership, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Volatility and Risk

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James River Group has a beta of 0.55, indicating that its share price is 45% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, First Financial has a beta of 0.92, indicating that its share price is 8% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for James River Group and First Financial, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
James River Group 0 1 3 0 2.75
First Financial 0 1 0 0 2.00

James River Group presently has a consensus price target of $42.50, indicating a potential upside of 19.82%. First Financial has a consensus price target of $50.00, indicating a potential upside of 20.19%. Given First Financial’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe First Financial is more favorable than James River Group.

Dividends

James River Group pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.4%. First Financial pays an annual dividend of $1.02 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. James River Group pays out 83.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. First Financial pays out 42.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares James River Group and First Financial’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
James River Group $817.63 million 1.29 $43.56 million $1.44 24.63
First Financial $150.13 million 3.40 $29.13 million $2.38 17.48

James River Group has higher revenue and earnings than First Financial. First Financial is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than James River Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares James River Group and First Financial’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
James River Group 5.33% 6.67% 1.82%
First Financial 19.40% 8.24% 1.19%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

96.4% of James River Group shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 56.4% of First Financial shares are owned by institutional investors. 41.0% of James River Group shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 3.7% of First Financial shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

James River Group beats First Financial on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About James River Group

James River Group Holdings, Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides specialty insurance and reinsurance services in the United States. Its Excess and Surplus Lines segment underwrites property and liability insurance on an excess and surplus commercial lines basis in all states and the District of Columbia. This segment distributes its insurance policies primarily through wholesale insurance brokers. The company's Specialty Admitted Insurance segment provides workers' compensation coverage for residential contractors, light manufacturing operations, transportation workers, healthcare workers, and fronting and program business in North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Its Casualty Reinsurance segment offers proportional and working layer casualty reinsurance to third parties and unaffiliated insurance companies. James River Group Holdings, Ltd. was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Pembroke, Bermuda.

About First Financial

First Financial Corporation is a financial holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, offers financial services, including commercial, mortgage and consumer lending, lease financing, trust account services, depositor services and insurance services. The Company’s subsidiaries include First Financial Bank, N.A. (the Bank), The Morris Plan Company of Terre Haute (Morris Plan), First Chanticleer Corporation and FFB Risk Management Co., Inc. The Bank has two investment subsidiaries, Portfolio Management Specialists A (Specialists A) and Portfolio Management Specialists B (Specialists B), which holds and manages certain assets to manage various income streams and provides opportunities for capital creation as needed. The Bank’s loan portfolio includes commercial loans, residential loans and consumer loans. Its deposits include non-interest-bearing demand deposits, interest-bearing demand deposits, savings deposits, time deposits: $100,000 or more, and other time deposits.

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