Image Sensing Systems (NASDAQ: ISNS) and ESCO Technologies (NYSE:ESE) are both small-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, profitability, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, earnings, valuation and dividends.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Image Sensing Systems and ESCO Technologies, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Image Sensing Systems 0 0 0 0 N/A
ESCO Technologies 0 0 3 0 3.00

ESCO Technologies has a consensus price target of $66.50, suggesting a potential upside of 14.75%. Given ESCO Technologies’ higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe ESCO Technologies is more favorable than Image Sensing Systems.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

14.5% of Image Sensing Systems shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 95.2% of ESCO Technologies shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.0% of Image Sensing Systems shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.3% of ESCO Technologies shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Volatility & Risk

Image Sensing Systems has a beta of 0.49, suggesting that its share price is 51% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, ESCO Technologies has a beta of 1.04, suggesting that its share price is 4% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Image Sensing Systems and ESCO Technologies’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Image Sensing Systems 2.39% 7.05% 5.36%
ESCO Technologies 8.06% 8.36% 4.84%

Dividends

ESCO Technologies pays an annual dividend of $0.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.6%. Image Sensing Systems does not pay a dividend. ESCO Technologies pays out 16.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Image Sensing Systems and ESCO Technologies’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Image Sensing Systems $12.79 million 1.33 $550,999.00 $0.05 66.01
ESCO Technologies $638.24 million 2.35 $108.39 million $1.98 29.27

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

Summary

ESCO Technologies beats Image Sensing Systems on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Image Sensing Systems Company Profile

Image Sensing Systems, Inc. is a provider of software-based products and solutions for the intelligent transportation systems (ITS) industry. The Company develops and markets video and radar processing products for use in traffic, security, police and parking applications, such as intersection control, highway, bridge and tunnel traffic management, venue security, entry control and traffic data collection. The Company operates through two segments: Intersection and Highway. Video products are sold in the Intersection segment. Radar products are sold in the Highway segment. The Company’s family of products, which it markets as Autoscope video or video products (Autoscope) and RTMS radar or radar products (RTMS), provides end users with the tools that manage traffic flow and support driver safety. Its technology analyzes signals from sensors and transmits the information to management systems and controllers or directly to users.

ESCO Technologies Company Profile

ESCO Technologies Inc. (ESCO) is a producer of engineered products and systems sold to customers for utility, industrial, aerospace and commercial applications. The Company operates through four segments: Filtration/Fluid Flow (Filtration), RF Shielding and Test (Test), Utility Solutions Group (USG) and Technical Packaging. The filtration segment’s activities are managed by its subsidiaries, Crissair, Inc. (Crissair), PTI Technologies Inc. (PTI), VACCO Industries (VACCO) and Westland Technologies Inc. (Westland). The Test segment activities are managed by its subsidiaries, Beijing Lindgren ElectronMagnetic Technology Co., Ltd., ETS-Lindgren Inc. and ETS-Lindgren OY. The USG segment activities are managed by its subsidiaries, including Doble Engineering Company, Doble PowerTest Ltd and Doble TransiNor AS. The technical packaging activities are managed by its subsidiaries, Thermoform Engineered Quality LLC (TEQ), Plastique Limited and Plastique Sp. z o.o.

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