Ultra Clean Holdings (NASDAQ: UCTT) and Photronics (NASDAQ:PLAB) are both small-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, earnings, dividends, risk, profitability, analyst recommendations and institutional ownership.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

77.6% of Ultra Clean Holdings shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 96.1% of Photronics shares are held by institutional investors. 2.6% of Ultra Clean Holdings shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 3.7% of Photronics shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Ultra Clean Holdings and Photronics’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ultra Clean Holdings 6.25% 24.16% 13.62%
Photronics 2.97% 1.34% 1.12%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Ultra Clean Holdings and Photronics’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ultra Clean Holdings $753.55 million 1.04 $74.66 million $1.39 16.90
Photronics $437.08 million 1.26 $111.14 million $0.20 40.00

Photronics has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Ultra Clean Holdings. Ultra Clean Holdings is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Photronics, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for Ultra Clean Holdings and Photronics, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ultra Clean Holdings 0 3 3 0 2.50
Photronics 0 2 1 0 2.33

Ultra Clean Holdings currently has a consensus target price of $28.40, indicating a potential upside of 20.90%. Photronics has a consensus target price of $12.00, indicating a potential upside of 50.00%. Given Photronics’ higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Photronics is more favorable than Ultra Clean Holdings.

Volatility & Risk

Ultra Clean Holdings has a beta of 1.19, indicating that its stock price is 19% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Photronics has a beta of 0.48, indicating that its stock price is 52% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Ultra Clean Holdings beats Photronics on 8 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Ultra Clean Holdings

Ultra Clean Holdings, Inc. is engaged in the design, engineering and manufacture of production tools, modules and subsystems the semiconductor capital equipment industry. The Company’s products include precision robotic solutions; gas delivery systems; a range of industrial and automation production equipment products; subsystems that includes wafer cleaning sub-systems, chemical delivery modules, top-plate assemblies, frame assemblies, and process modules. The Company offers its products for the semiconductor capital equipment and equipment industry segments. It also sells to the consumer, medical, energy, industrial, flat panel and research equipment industries. The Company is focused on providing specialized engineering and manufacturing solutions for these applications. It provides its original equipment manufacturing (OEM) customers an outsourced solution for the development, design, component sourcing, prototyping, engineering, manufacturing and testing of various systems.

About Photronics

Photronics, Inc. is a manufacturer of photomasks, which are photographic quartz plates containing microscopic images of electronic circuits. As of October 30, 2016, the Company operated principally from nine manufacturing facilities: two located in Europe, three in Taiwan, one in Korea and three in the United States. Photomasks are used in the manufacture of semiconductors and flat panel displays (FPDs), and are used as masters to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers and flat panel substrates during the fabrication of integrated circuits (ICs), and a range of FPDs and other types of electrical and optical components. The Company offers reticle and photomask maintenance, including pellicle replacement, mask cleaning and re-certification, at all its sites across the world. Its products include Mature Binary, Advanced Binary Reticles, Phase Shift Masks-Embedded Attenuated Phase Shift Masks (EAPSM), Other Advanced Products and Large Area Masks.

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