Waters (WAT) vs. Harvard Bioscience (HBIO) Critical Contrast

Waters (NYSE: WAT) and Harvard Bioscience (NASDAQ:HBIO) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, valuation, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, earnings, profitability and dividends.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Waters and Harvard Bioscience, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Waters 0 11 6 0 2.35
Harvard Bioscience 0 0 2 0 3.00

Waters currently has a consensus target price of $202.87, suggesting a potential upside of 0.07%. Harvard Bioscience has a consensus target price of $9.00, suggesting a potential upside of 95.65%. Given Harvard Bioscience’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Harvard Bioscience is more favorable than Waters.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

91.9% of Waters shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 61.6% of Harvard Bioscience shares are held by institutional investors. 5.1% of Waters shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 9.8% of Harvard Bioscience shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Waters and Harvard Bioscience’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Waters $2.31 billion 6.98 $20.31 million $0.19 1,067.00
Harvard Bioscience $104.52 million 1.54 -$4.30 million ($0.09) -51.11

Waters has higher revenue and earnings than Harvard Bioscience. Harvard Bioscience is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Waters, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Waters has a beta of 0.88, suggesting that its stock price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Harvard Bioscience has a beta of 1.3, suggesting that its stock price is 30% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Waters and Harvard Bioscience’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Waters 0.88% 24.70% 11.89%
Harvard Bioscience -3.16% 1.11% 0.76%

Summary

Waters beats Harvard Bioscience on 10 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Waters Company Profile

Waters Corporation is an analytical instrument manufacturer. The Company operates through two segments: Waters and TA. It designs, manufactures, sells and services high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC and together with HPLC, referred to as LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) technology systems and support products, including chromatography columns, other consumable products and post-warranty service plans. It also designs, manufactures, sells and services thermal analysis, rheometry and calorimetry instruments through its TA product line. It is also a developer and supplier of software-based products that interface with the Company’s instruments, as well as other suppliers’ instruments. Its LC and LC-MS instruments are utilized in a range of industries to detect, identify, monitor and measure the chemical, physical and biological composition of materials, and to purify a range of compounds.

Harvard Bioscience Company Profile

Harvard Bioscience, Inc. is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of a range of scientific instruments, systems and lab consumables used for basic research, drug discovery, clinical and environmental testing. The Company’s products are sold to thousands of researchers in over 100 countries through its global sales organization, Websites, catalogs and through distributors. The Company’s product range is organized into three commercial product families: Cell and Animal Physiology (CAP), Lab Products and Services (LPS), and Molecular Separation and Analysis (MSA). The Company sells these products under brand names, including Harvard Apparatus, KD Scientific, Denville Scientific, AHN, Hoefer, Biochrom, BTX, Warner Instruments, MCS, HEKA, Hugo Sachs Elektronik, Panlab, Coulbourn Instruments, TBSI and CMA Microdialysis. The Company’s products consist of instruments, consumables and systems that are made up of various individual products.

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