Intermolecular (NASDAQ: IMI) and Coherent (NASDAQ:COHR) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, earnings, profitability, dividends, risk and institutional ownership.

Risk & Volatility

Intermolecular has a beta of 0.99, indicating that its share price is 1% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Coherent has a beta of 0.78, indicating that its share price is 22% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Intermolecular and Coherent’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Intermolecular -47.22% -43.57% -35.71%
Coherent 11.08% 24.98% 12.59%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for Intermolecular and Coherent, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Intermolecular 0 1 0 0 2.00
Coherent 0 0 8 0 3.00

Coherent has a consensus price target of $296.13, suggesting a potential upside of 16.71%. Given Coherent’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Coherent is more favorable than Intermolecular.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

38.0% of Intermolecular shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 90.2% of Coherent shares are owned by institutional investors. 45.4% of Intermolecular shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 1.4% of Coherent shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings & Valuation

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

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Intermolecular $39.08 million 1.33 -$5.32 million ($0.38) -2.76
Coherent $1.48 billion 4.22 $403.41 million $6.63 38.27

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

Summary

Coherent beats Intermolecular on 11 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Intermolecular

Intermolecular, Inc. provides thin film solutions. The Company’s high productivity combinatorial (HPC) platform, which consists of its tempus processing tools, its automated characterization methods, and its Informatics analysis software, is purpose-built for research and development (R&D) using combinatorial process systems. It develops technology and Internet protocol (IP) rights focused on materials, processes, integration and device architectures in collaboration with its customers. Its HPC platform consists of tempus HPC processing, automated characterization and informatics and analysis software. The Company offers a series of wet processing tools and dry processing tools. Its informatics software includes workflow management software, analysis and reporting software, security and collaboration management software, and integration services. It caters to semiconductor device, semiconductor materials and equipment and clean energy market companies.

About Coherent

Coherent, Inc. is a photonics manufacturer. The Company is engaged in designing, manufacturing, servicing and marketing of lasers and related accessories for a range of scientific, commercial and industrial applications. It operates through two segments: Specialty Lasers and Systems (SLS) and Commercial Lasers and Components (CLC). SLS develops and manufactures configurable products serving the microelectronics, scientific research and government programs, and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components and instrumentation markets. The Commercial Lasers and Components segment focuses on higher volume products that are offered in set configurations. The product architectures are designed for exchange at the point of use such that substantially all product service and repairs are based upon advanced replacement and depot (that is factory) repair. CLC’s primary markets include materials processing, OEM components, and instrumentation and microelectronics.

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