American Superconductor (NASDAQ: AMSC) and NL Industries (NYSE:NL) are both small-cap industrials companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, dividends, risk, valuation and profitability.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

28.5% of American Superconductor shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 9.3% of NL Industries shares are owned by institutional investors. 2.6% of American Superconductor shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.1% of NL Industries shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Risk and Volatility

American Superconductor has a beta of 0.9, indicating that its share price is 10% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, NL Industries has a beta of 2.87, indicating that its share price is 187% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares American Superconductor and NL Industries’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
American Superconductor -50.90% -58.10% -34.66%
NL Industries 67.61% 33.69% 17.82%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares American Superconductor and NL Industries’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
American Superconductor $75.19 million 1.12 -$27.37 million ($1.99) -2.03
NL Industries $108.90 million 5.99 $15.32 million $1.57 8.54

NL Industries has higher revenue and earnings than American Superconductor. American Superconductor is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than NL Industries, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations for American Superconductor and NL Industries, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
American Superconductor 0 1 5 0 2.83
NL Industries 1 0 0 0 1.00

American Superconductor currently has a consensus target price of $7.33, suggesting a potential upside of 81.97%. NL Industries has a consensus target price of $14.00, suggesting a potential upside of 4.48%. Given American Superconductor’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities research analysts clearly believe American Superconductor is more favorable than NL Industries.

Summary

NL Industries beats American Superconductor on 9 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About American Superconductor

American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) is a provider of megawatt-scale solutions. The Company operates through two segments: Wind and Grid. Through the Company’s Windtec Solutions brand, the Wind business segment enables manufacturers to field wind turbines. Through the Company’s Gridtec Solutions, the Grid business segment enables electric utilities and renewable energy project developers to connect, transmit and distribute power. AMSC supplies power electronics and control systems, licenses its engineered wind turbine designs and provides customer support services to wind turbine manufacturers. The Company provides a range of power electronics and software-based control systems. AMSC provides transmission planning services that enable it to identify power grid congestion and other risks. The Company also sells grid interconnection solutions for wind farms and solar power plants, power quality systems, and transmission and distribution cable systems.

About NL Industries

NL Industries, Inc. is a holding company. The Company operates in the component products industry through its subsidiary, CompX International Inc. (CompX). The Company operates in the chemicals industry through its non-controlling interest in Kronos Worldwide, Inc. (Kronos). The Company, through Compx, manufactures engineered components that are sold to a range of industries, including recreational transportation (including boats), postal, office and institutional furniture, cabinetry, tool storage, healthcare, gas stations and vending equipment. Kronos is a global producer and marketer of value-added titanium dioxide pigments (TiO2), a base industrial product used in imparting whiteness, brightness and opacity to a range of customer applications and end use markets, including coatings, plastics, paper, inks, food, cosmetics, and other industrial and consumer products. Kronos has production facilities in Europe and North America.

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