Proto Labs (NYSE: PRLB) and Barnes Group (NYSE:B) are both mid-cap industrial products companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, earnings, risk, dividends, institutional ownership and profitability.


This table compares Proto Labs and Barnes Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Proto Labs 14.53% 11.63% 10.54%
Barnes Group 11.20% 12.44% 6.96%

Volatility and Risk

Proto Labs has a beta of 1.06, meaning that its stock price is 6% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Barnes Group has a beta of 1.35, meaning that its stock price is 35% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Proto Labs and Barnes Group’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Proto Labs $298.05 million 8.57 $42.70 million $1.75 54.77
Barnes Group $1.23 billion 2.75 $135.60 million $2.84 22.26

Barnes Group has higher revenue and earnings than Proto Labs. Barnes Group is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Proto Labs, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


Barnes Group pays an annual dividend of $0.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.9%. Proto Labs does not pay a dividend. Barnes Group pays out 19.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Proto Labs has increased its dividend for 4 consecutive years.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Proto Labs and Barnes Group, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Proto Labs 0 3 0 0 2.00
Barnes Group 0 3 3 0 2.50

Proto Labs presently has a consensus price target of $68.00, suggesting a potential downside of 29.06%. Barnes Group has a consensus price target of $65.60, suggesting a potential upside of 3.75%. Given Barnes Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Barnes Group is more favorable than Proto Labs.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

86.4% of Barnes Group shares are held by institutional investors. 7.8% of Proto Labs shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 8.5% of Barnes Group shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


Barnes Group beats Proto Labs on 11 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Proto Labs Company Profile

Proto Labs, Inc. is an e-commerce driven digital manufacturer of on-demand three dimensional (3D) printed, computer numerical control (CNC) machined and injection-molded custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. The Company’s geographic segments include the United States, Europe and Japan. The Company targets its products to the product developers and engineers who use 3D computer-aided design (3D CAD) software to design products across a range of end markets. Its product lines include Injection Molding, CNC Machining and 3D Printing. Its Injection Molding product line is used for prototype, on-demand and short-run production. Its CNC Machining product line uses commercially available CNC machines to cut plastic or metal blocks into one or more custom parts based on the 3D CAD model uploaded by the product developer or engineer. Its 3D Printing product line includes stereolithography (SL), selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) processes.

Barnes Group Company Profile

Barnes Group Inc. is an industrial and aerospace manufacturer and service provider, serving a range of end markets and customers. The Company’s engineered products, industrial technologies, and solutions are used in applications that provide transportation, manufacturing, healthcare products and technology to the world. Its segments include Industrial and Aerospace. The Industrial segment is engaged in the manufacturing of precision parts, products and systems for applications serving a customer base in end-markets, such as transportation, industrial equipment, consumer products, packaging, electronics, medical devices and energy. The Industrial segment includes the Molding Solutions, Nitrogen Gas Products and Engineered Components business units. The Aerospace segment includes the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business and the aftermarket business, which includes maintenance repair and overhaul services and the manufacture and delivery of aerospace aftermarket spare parts.

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