IRIS International (NASDAQ: IRIS) and Natera (NASDAQ:NTRA) are both small-cap healthcare companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, profitability, dividends, valuation, institutional ownership and earnings.

Risk & Volatility

IRIS International has a beta of 1.24, indicating that its share price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Natera has a beta of 2.07, indicating that its share price is 107% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for IRIS International and Natera, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
IRIS International 0 0 0 0 N/A
Natera 0 0 4 0 3.00

Natera has a consensus target price of $15.00, indicating a potential upside of 56.74%. Given Natera’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Natera is more favorable than IRIS International.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

68.9% of IRIS International shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 66.2% of Natera shares are held by institutional investors. 9.7% of IRIS International shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 12.6% of Natera shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares IRIS International and Natera’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
IRIS International N/A N/A N/A $0.04 200.00
Natera $217.07 million 2.37 -$95.76 million ($2.45) -3.91

IRIS International has higher earnings, but lower revenue than Natera. Natera is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than IRIS International, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares IRIS International and Natera’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
IRIS International -61.58% -36.70% -29.47%
Natera -62.34% -197.09% -68.72%

About IRIS International

Mitcham Industries, Inc. is a provider of equipment to the geophysical, oceanographic and hydrographic industries. The Company operates through two segments. The Equipment Leasing segment is primarily engaged in the leasing of seismic equipment to companies in the oil and gas industry across the world. The Equipment Manufacturing and Sales segment is engaged in the design, production and sale of marine seismic equipment, and oceanographic and hydrographic equipment. Its leasing business includes Mitcham Canada ULC, Seismic Asia Pacific Pty Ltd., Mitcham Seismic Eurasia LLC, Mitcham Europe Ltd. and Mitcham Marine Leasing Pte. Ltd. The Equipment Manufacturing and Sales Segment includes its Seamap International Holdings Pte, Ltd. (Seamap) business and Klein Marine Systems, Inc. (Klein). Seamap designs, manufactures and sells a range of products for the seismic, hydrographic and offshore industries. Klein develops and manufactures high performance side scan sonar systems.

About Natera

Natera, Inc. is a diagnostics company. The Company is engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of genetic testing services. It offers Panorama Non-Invasive Prenatal Test that screens for chromosomal abnormalities of a fetus with a blood draw from the mother; Horizon Carrier Screening to determine carrier status for a large number of severe genetic diseases that could be passed on to the carrier’s children; Spectrum Pre-implantation Genetic Screening and Spectrum Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis to analyze chromosomal anomalies or inherited genetic conditions during an in vitro fertilization cycle to select embryos with the probability of becoming healthy children; Anora Products of Conception test to analyze fetal chromosomes to understand the cause of miscarriage, and Non-Invasive Paternity Testing, to determine paternity by analyzing the fragments of fetal deoxyribonucleic acid in a pregnant mother’s blood and a blood sample from the alleged father(s).

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