Itron (NASDAQ: ITRI) and A. O. Smith Corp (NYSE:AOS) are both large-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations, risk, institutional ownership and valuation.

Dividends

A. O. Smith Corp pays an annual dividend of $0.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.9%. Itron does not pay a dividend. A. O. Smith Corp pays out 27.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Itron has raised its dividend for 11 consecutive years.

Volatility and Risk

Itron has a beta of 1.07, suggesting that its stock price is 7% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, A. O. Smith Corp has a beta of 1.56, suggesting that its stock price is 56% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for Itron and A. O. Smith Corp, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Itron 0 3 5 0 2.63
A. O. Smith Corp 0 3 4 0 2.57

A. O. Smith Corp has a consensus target price of $62.80, suggesting a potential upside of 5.48%. Given Itron’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Itron is more favorable than A. O. Smith Corp.

Profitability

This table compares Itron and A. O. Smith Corp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Itron 3.42% 14.84% 6.26%
A. O. Smith Corp 12.18% 22.42% 11.96%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

93.5% of Itron shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 74.0% of A. O. Smith Corp shares are held by institutional investors. 2.0% of Itron shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.3% of A. O. Smith Corp shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Itron and A. O. Smith Corp’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Itron $2.01 billion 1.33 $31.77 million $1.71 40.57
A. O. Smith Corp $2.69 billion 3.82 $326.50 million $2.04 29.19

A. O. Smith Corp has higher revenue and earnings than Itron. A. O. Smith Corp is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Itron, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

A. O. Smith Corp beats Itron on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Itron

Itron, Inc. (Itron) is a technology and service company. The Company provides solutions that measure, manage and analyze energy and water use. The Company operates through three segments: Electricity, Gas and Water. It provides a portfolio of products, solutions, software and services to electric, gas and water utility customers across the globe. It offers solutions that enable electric and natural gas utilities to build smart grids to manage assets. It offers a product portfolio, including standard meters and smart metering products, systems and services, for applications in the residential and commercial industrial markets for water and heat. The Company operates under the Itron brand across the world. Its Gas and Water manufacturing facilities are located throughout the world, while its Electricity manufacturing facilities are located in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and North America.

About A. O. Smith Corp

A. O. Smith Corporation operates through two segments: North America and Rest of World. The Company’s Rest of World segment primarily consists of China, Europe and India. Both segments manufacture and market comprehensive lines of residential and commercial gas, gas tankless and electric water heaters, as well as water treatment products. Both segments primarily manufacture and market in their respective regions of the world. Its North America segment manufactures and globally markets specialty commercial water heating equipment, condensing and non-condensing boilers and water systems tanks. It also manufactures and markets in-home air purification products in China. It serves residential and commercial end markets in North America with a range of products, which include water heaters, boilers and other. It supplies water heaters to the residential market in China with a broad product offering, including electric, gas, gas tankless, heat pump and solar units, as well as combi boilers.

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