Aqua Metals (NASDAQ: AQMS) and Allegheny Technologies (NYSE:ATI) are both business services companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, earnings, analyst recommendations, risk, dividends, institutional ownership and profitability.

Volatility and Risk

Aqua Metals has a beta of 1.24, indicating that its stock price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Allegheny Technologies has a beta of 2.44, indicating that its stock price is 144% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Aqua Metals and Allegheny Technologies’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Aqua Metals N/A -35.51% -27.81%
Allegheny Technologies -2.45% 1.09% 0.31%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

43.3% of Aqua Metals shares are held by institutional investors. 19.7% of Aqua Metals shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.1% of Allegheny Technologies shares are held by company 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.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Aqua Metals and Allegheny Technologies, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Aqua Metals 0 0 6 0 3.00
Allegheny Technologies 0 5 3 0 2.38

Aqua Metals currently has a consensus price target of $28.60, suggesting a potential upside of 620.40%. Allegheny Technologies has a consensus price target of $20.57, suggesting a potential downside of 18.30%. Given Aqua Metals’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Aqua Metals is more favorable than Allegheny Technologies.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Aqua Metals and Allegheny Technologies’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Aqua Metals $602,999.00 132.76 -$15.80 million ($1.21) -3.28
Allegheny Technologies $3.31 billion 0.83 $295.80 million ($0.78) -32.28

Allegheny Technologies has higher revenue and earnings than Aqua Metals. Allegheny Technologies is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Aqua Metals, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Aqua Metals beats Allegheny Technologies on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Aqua Metals

Aqua Metals, Inc. is engaged in the business of recycling lead through a process that the Company developed and named AquaRefining. The Company’s AquaRefining process focuses on providing for the recycling of lead acid batteries (LABs) and the production of lead. AquaRefining uses bio-degradable aqueous solvent and an ambient temperature electro-chemical process to produce lead. The modular nature of AquaRefining makes it possible to start LAB recycling at a much smaller scale than is possible with smelters. Its AquaRefining process begins with the crushing of used LABs and the separation of the metallic lead, active material (lead compounds), sulfuric acid and plastic for recycling. The active material is dissolved in its solvent. The primary lead is then stripped from the solvent using its automated process allowing the solvent to be reused continuously and indefinitely. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had not generated revenues.

About Allegheny Technologies

Allegheny Technologies Incorporated is a manufacturer of specialty materials and complex components. The Company operates through two business segments: High Performance Materials & Components (HPMC), and Flat Rolled Products (FRP). The HPMC segment produces, converts and distributes a range of materials, including titanium and titanium-based alloys, nickel- and cobalt-based alloys and superalloys, zirconium and related alloys, including hafnium and niobium, advanced powder alloys and other specialty materials, in long product forms, such as ingot, billet, bar, rod, wire, shapes and rectangles, and seamless tubes, plus precision forgings, castings, components and machined parts. The FRP segment produces, converts and distributes stainless steel, nickel-based alloys, specialty alloys, and titanium and titanium-based alloys, in a range of product forms, including plate, sheet, engineered strip, and Precision Rolled Strip products.

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