Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A) and Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) are both large-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, risk, valuation, dividends, earnings, profitability and institutional ownership.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Agilent Technologies and Intuitive Surgical’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Agilent Technologies $4.39 billion 4.71 $1.02 billion $1.94 33.09
Intuitive Surgical $2.87 billion 13.54 $1.08 billion $20.88 50.09

Intuitive Surgical has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Agilent Technologies. Agilent Technologies is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Intuitive Surgical, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

Agilent Technologies has a beta of 1.3, suggesting that its share price is 30% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Intuitive Surgical has a beta of 0.38, suggesting that its share price is 62% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Agilent Technologies and Intuitive Surgical, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Agilent Technologies 0 3 10 0 2.77
Intuitive Surgical 0 5 11 0 2.69

Agilent Technologies presently has a consensus price target of $65.59, suggesting a potential upside of 2.17%. Intuitive Surgical has a consensus price target of $419.73, suggesting a potential downside of 59.87%. Given Agilent Technologies’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts clearly believe Agilent Technologies is more favorable than Intuitive Surgical.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

94.2% of Intuitive Surgical shares are owned by institutional investors. 2.2% of Intuitive Surgical shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Agilent Technologies and Intuitive Surgical’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Agilent Technologies 14.36% 16.95% 9.30%
Intuitive Surgical 28.44% 15.99% 14.06%

Dividends

Agilent Technologies pays an annual dividend of $0.53 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.8%. Intuitive Surgical does not pay a dividend. Agilent Technologies pays out 27.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Summary

Intuitive Surgical beats Agilent Technologies on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Agilent Technologies Company Profile

Agilent Technologies, Inc. provides application focused solutions that include instruments, software, services and consumables for the entire laboratory workflow. The Company serves the life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets. It has three business segments: life sciences and applied markets business, diagnostics and genomics business, and Agilent CrossLab business. Its life sciences and applied markets business segment offers instruments and software that enable customers to identify, quantify and analyze the physical and biological properties of substances and products, as well as enable customers in the clinical and life sciences research areas to interrogate samples at the molecular level. Its diagnostics and genomics business segment includes the reagent partnership, pathology, companion diagnostics, genomics and the nucleic acid solutions businesses. Its Agilent CrossLab business segment spans the entire lab with its consumables and services portfolio.

Intuitive Surgical Company Profile

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Intuitive) designs, manufactures and markets da Vinci Surgical Systems, and related instruments and accessories. The Company’s da Vinci Surgical System consists of a surgeon’s console, a patient-side cart and a vision system. The da Vinci Surgical System translates a surgeon’s hand movements, which are performed on instrument controls at a console, into corresponding micro-movements of instruments positioned inside the patient through small incisions or ports. The da Vinci Surgical System provides its operating surgeons with control, range of motion, tissue manipulation capability and three-dimensional (3-D), high-definition (HD) vision. Intuitive has four generations of da Vinci Surgical System: the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, the da Vinci Si Surgical System, the da Vinci S Surgical System and the standard da Vinci Surgical System. The Company’s instruments and accessories include EndoWrist Instruments and da Vinci Single-Site.

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