Belden (NYSE: BDC) and Harmonic (NASDAQ:HLIT) are both industrial products companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, earnings, risk, institutional ownership, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

Belden pays an annual dividend of $0.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.3%. Harmonic does not pay a dividend. Belden pays out 8.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

99.1% of Harmonic shares are held by institutional investors. 1.3% of Belden shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 5.5% of Harmonic shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Belden and Harmonic’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Belden 5.53% 16.31% 6.21%
Harmonic -21.58% -13.22% -6.31%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Belden and Harmonic’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Belden $2.38 billion 1.41 $441.71 million $2.31 34.25
Harmonic $379.77 million 0.64 -$18.46 million ($1.03) -2.91

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Belden and Harmonic, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Belden 0 3 6 0 2.67
Harmonic 0 2 1 0 2.33

Belden presently has a consensus price target of $85.86, indicating a potential upside of 8.52%. Harmonic has a consensus price target of $5.50, indicating a potential upside of 83.33%. Given Harmonic’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Harmonic is more favorable than Belden.

Volatility & Risk

Belden has a beta of 2.27, indicating that its stock price is 127% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Harmonic has a beta of 0.96, indicating that its stock price is 4% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Belden beats Harmonic on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Belden

Belden Inc. is a signal transmission solutions provider company. The Company operates through five segment: Broadcast Solutions (Broadcast), Enterprise Connectivity Solutions (Enterprise), Industrial Connectivity Solutions (Industrial Connectivity), Industrial IT Solutions (Industrial IT), and Network Security Solutions (Network Security). The segments design, manufacture, and market a portfolio of signal transmission solutions for applications used in a variety of end markets, including broadcast, enterprise, and industrial. The Company’s portfolio of signal transmission solutions provides transmission of data, sound, and video for various applications. The Company’s sells its products to distributors, end users, installers, and to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The Company has manufacturing facilities in the United States, other manufacturing and operating facilities in Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, and St. Kitts, as well as in various countries in Europe.

About Harmonic

Harmonic Inc. (Harmonic) designs, manufactures and sells video infrastructure products, and system solutions. The Company has two segments: Video and Cable Edge. Harmonic provides technical support and professional services to its customers around the world. The Video segment sells video processing and production, and playout solutions and services to broadcast and media companies, streaming media companies, cable operators, and satellite and telecommunications (telco), and pay television (TV) service providers. Its Cable Edge business sells cable edge solutions and related services to cable operators around the world. The Video segment offers a range of products and solutions, as well as software-based media processing platforms. The Company’s Narrowcast Services Gateway (NSG) products are integrated edge gateway products that integrate routing, multiplexing, scrambling and modulation into a single package for the delivery of narrowcast services to subscribers over cable networks.

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