Keysight Technologies (NYSE: KEYS) and MKS Instruments (NASDAQ:MKSI) are both mid-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, profitability, risk, institutional ownership, valuation, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

88.1% of Keysight Technologies shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 95.4% of MKS Instruments shares are held by institutional investors. 1.2% of Keysight Technologies shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.7% of MKS Instruments shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Keysight Technologies and MKS Instruments’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Keysight Technologies 7.58% 20.85% 8.06%
MKS Instruments 15.47% 19.47% 11.16%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Keysight Technologies and MKS Instruments, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Keysight Technologies 0 2 8 0 2.80
MKS Instruments 0 0 5 0 3.00

Keysight Technologies presently has a consensus price target of $47.11, suggesting a potential upside of 16.32%. MKS Instruments has a consensus price target of $88.20, suggesting a potential downside of 0.56%. Given Keysight Technologies’ higher probable upside, equities analysts plainly believe Keysight Technologies is more favorable than MKS Instruments.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Keysight Technologies and MKS Instruments’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Keysight Technologies $3.06 billion 2.46 $550.00 million $1.33 30.45
MKS Instruments $1.70 billion 2.83 $405.48 million $4.80 18.48

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

Dividends

MKS Instruments pays an annual dividend of $0.70 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.8%. Keysight Technologies does not pay a dividend. MKS Instruments pays out 14.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Risk & Volatility

Keysight Technologies has a beta of 1.15, meaning that its stock price is 15% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, MKS Instruments has a beta of 1.08, meaning that its stock price is 8% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

MKS Instruments beats Keysight Technologies on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies, Inc. is a measurement company engaged in providing electronic design and test solutions to communications and electronics industries. The Company provides electronic design and test instruments and systems and related software, software design tools and related services that are used in the design, development, manufacture, installation, deployment and operation of electronics equipment. The Company operates through three segments: Communications Solutions Group (CSG), Electronic Industrial Solutions Group (EISG) and Services Solutions Group (SSG). The CSG and EISG segments provide electronic design and test software, instruments, and systems used in the simulation, design, validation, manufacturing, installation and optimization of electronic equipment. The SSG segment provides integrated service solutions, including repair and calibration services, professional services and remanufactured equipment.

About MKS Instruments

MKS Instruments, Inc. is a global provider of instruments, subsystems and process control solutions that measures, controls, powers, delivers, monitors and analyzes critical parameters of advanced manufacturing processes. The Company operates through two segments, including the Vacuum & Analysis segment and the Light & Motion segment. The Vacuum & Analysis segment provides a range of instruments, components, subsystems and software, which are derived from its core competencies in pressure measurement and control, flow measurement and control, gas and vapor delivery, gas composition analysis, residual gas analysis, leak detection, control and information technology, ozone generation and delivery, radio frequency (RF) and direct current (DC) power, reactive gas generation and vacuum technology. The Light & Motion segment provides a range of instruments, components and subsystems, which are derived from its core competencies in lasers, photonics and optics.

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