Harvard Bioscience (NASDAQ: HBIO) and Waters (NYSE:WAT) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, institutional ownership, valuation, profitability, analyst recommendations, earnings and risk.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Harvard Bioscience and Waters’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Harvard Bioscience $104.52 million 1.54 -$4.30 million ($0.09) -51.11
Waters $2.31 billion 6.98 $20.31 million $0.19 1,067.00

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

Profitability

This table compares Harvard Bioscience and Waters’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Harvard Bioscience -3.16% 1.11% 0.76%
Waters 0.88% 24.70% 11.89%

Risk & Volatility

Harvard Bioscience has a beta of 1.3, meaning that its stock price is 30% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Waters has a beta of 0.88, meaning that its stock price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

61.6% of Harvard Bioscience shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 91.9% of Waters shares are owned by institutional investors. 9.8% of Harvard Bioscience shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 5.1% of Waters shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Harvard Bioscience and Waters, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Harvard Bioscience 0 0 2 0 3.00
Waters 0 11 6 0 2.35

Harvard Bioscience currently has a consensus target price of $9.00, suggesting a potential upside of 95.65%. Waters has a consensus target price of $202.87, suggesting a potential upside of 0.07%. Given Harvard Bioscience’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Harvard Bioscience is more favorable than Waters.

Summary

Waters beats Harvard Bioscience on 10 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Harvard Bioscience Company Profile

Harvard Bioscience, Inc. is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of a range of scientific instruments, systems and lab consumables used for basic research, drug discovery, clinical and environmental testing. The Company’s products are sold to thousands of researchers in over 100 countries through its global sales organization, Websites, catalogs and through distributors. The Company’s product range is organized into three commercial product families: Cell and Animal Physiology (CAP), Lab Products and Services (LPS), and Molecular Separation and Analysis (MSA). The Company sells these products under brand names, including Harvard Apparatus, KD Scientific, Denville Scientific, AHN, Hoefer, Biochrom, BTX, Warner Instruments, MCS, HEKA, Hugo Sachs Elektronik, Panlab, Coulbourn Instruments, TBSI and CMA Microdialysis. The Company’s products consist of instruments, consumables and systems that are made up of various individual products.

Waters Company Profile

Waters Corporation is an analytical instrument manufacturer. The Company operates through two segments: Waters and TA. It designs, manufactures, sells and services high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC and together with HPLC, referred to as LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) technology systems and support products, including chromatography columns, other consumable products and post-warranty service plans. It also designs, manufactures, sells and services thermal analysis, rheometry and calorimetry instruments through its TA product line. It is also a developer and supplier of software-based products that interface with the Company’s instruments, as well as other suppliers’ instruments. Its LC and LC-MS instruments are utilized in a range of industries to detect, identify, monitor and measure the chemical, physical and biological composition of materials, and to purify a range of compounds.

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