Perceptron (NASDAQ: PRCP) and MKS Instruments (NASDAQ:MKSI) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations, valuation, risk, dividends and institutional ownership.

Dividends

MKS Instruments pays an annual dividend of $0.70 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.7%. Perceptron does not pay a dividend. MKS Instruments pays out 14.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Risk & Volatility

Perceptron has a beta of 0.5, suggesting that its share price is 50% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, MKS Instruments has a beta of 1.13, suggesting that its share price is 13% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

62.8% of Perceptron shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 95.4% of MKS Instruments shares are owned by institutional investors. 12.0% of Perceptron shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 1.7% of MKS Instruments shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Perceptron and MKS Instruments’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Perceptron -0.22% 1.00% 0.58%
MKS Instruments 25.05% 35.32% 20.98%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Perceptron and MKS Instruments’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Perceptron $77.95 million 0.94 $5.79 million ($0.01) -775.00
MKS Instruments $1.70 billion 3.15 $405.48 million $4.80 20.56

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

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations for Perceptron and MKS Instruments, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Perceptron 0 0 1 0 3.00
MKS Instruments 0 0 4 0 3.00

Perceptron presently has a consensus target price of $9.00, suggesting a potential upside of 16.13%. MKS Instruments has a consensus target price of $95.50, suggesting a potential downside of 3.24%. Given Perceptron’s higher probable upside, research analysts clearly believe Perceptron is more favorable than MKS Instruments.

Summary

MKS Instruments beats Perceptron on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Perceptron

Perceptron, Inc. develops, produces and sells a range of automated industrial metrology products and solutions to manufacturing organizations for dimensional gauging, dimensional inspection and three-dimensional (3D) scanning. The Company’s products include 3D machine vision solutions, robot guidance, coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), laser scanning and advanced analysis software. The Company’s products are categorized as In-Line, Near-Line and Off-Line Measurement Solutions (Measurement Solutions); 3D Scanning Solutions, and Value Added Services. Its In-Line and Near-Line measurement solutions include AutoGauge, AutoFit, AutoScan, AutoGuide and Helix. Its Off-Line measurement solutions include Coord3 and TouchDMIS. Its 3D Scanning Solutions include ScanWorks, ScanR and WheelWorks. Its Value Added Services include training, field service, calibration, launch support services, maintenance agreements and repairs. The Company operates in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

About MKS Instruments

MKS Instruments, Inc. is a global provider of instruments, subsystems and process control solutions that measures, controls, powers, delivers, monitors and analyzes critical parameters of advanced manufacturing processes. The Company operates through two segments, including the Vacuum & Analysis segment and the Light & Motion segment. The Vacuum & Analysis segment provides a range of instruments, components, subsystems and software, which are derived from its core competencies in pressure measurement and control, flow measurement and control, gas and vapor delivery, gas composition analysis, residual gas analysis, leak detection, control and information technology, ozone generation and delivery, radio frequency (RF) and direct current (DC) power, reactive gas generation and vacuum technology. The Light & Motion segment provides a range of instruments, components and subsystems, which are derived from its core competencies in lasers, photonics and optics.

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