Luna Innovations (NASDAQ: LUNA) and Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) are both business services companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, profitability, earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, risk and valuation.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent recommendations for Luna Innovations and Illumina, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Luna Innovations 0 0 1 0 3.00
Illumina 2 9 9 0 2.35

Luna Innovations currently has a consensus target price of $3.00, suggesting a potential upside of 79.66%. Illumina has a consensus target price of $180.31, suggesting a potential downside of 12.38%. Given Luna Innovations’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe Luna Innovations is more favorable than Illumina.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Luna Innovations and Illumina’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Luna Innovations $57.27 million 0.81 $2.29 million ($0.07) -23.85
Illumina $2.49 billion 12.07 $666.78 million $5.10 40.35

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

10.0% of Luna Innovations shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 93.3% of Illumina shares are held by institutional investors. 13.0% of Luna Innovations shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.6% of Illumina shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Luna Innovations and Illumina’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Luna Innovations -3.00% -5.00% -3.24%
Illumina 30.27% 19.69% 10.81%

Risk and Volatility

Luna Innovations has a beta of 1.3, indicating that its share price is 30% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Illumina has a beta of 0.76, indicating that its share price is 24% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Illumina beats Luna Innovations on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Luna Innovations

Luna Innovations Incorporated develops, manufactures and markets fiber optic sensing and test, and measurement products. The Company is focused on bringing technology solutions to measure and monitor processes in the aerospace, automotive, energy, composite, telecommunications and defense industries. The Company operates in two business segments: Products and Licensing, and Technology Development. The Products and Licensing segment develops, manufactures and markets its suite of products, including high-speed optical receiver (HSOR), custom optoelectronic subsystems (Optoelectronics), and Terahertz (THz) products, and fiber optic sensing, as well as test and measurement products. The Technology Development segment performs applied research principally in the areas of sensing and instrumentation, advanced materials and health sciences. The Company’s HSOR transmission products are deployed in the Internet communications equipment infrastructure for high-speed bandwidth.

About Illumina

Illumina, Inc. (Illumina) is a provider of sequencing- and array-based solutions for genetic analysis. The Company operates through two segments: Core Illumina and the consolidated variable interest entities (VIEs), which include the activities of GRAIL, Inc. (GRAIL) and Helix Holdings I, LLC (Helix). Core Illumina consists of its core operations. Core Illumina’s products and services serve customers in the research, clinical and applied markets, and enable the adoption of a range of genomic solutions. The Company’s portfolio of integrated systems, consumables and analysis tools addresses the range of genomic complexity, price points, and throughput, enabling customers to select the solution for their research or clinical challenge. The Company provides reproductive-health solutions, including noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT), preimplantation genetic screening and diagnosis, and neonatal and genetic health testing.

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