National Instruments Corporation (NASDAQ: NATI) and Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS) are both mid-cap software – nec companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, dividends, risk, valuation and profitability.

Dividends

National Instruments Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.84 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.9%. Citrix Systems does not pay a dividend. National Instruments Corporation pays out 103.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations for National Instruments Corporation and Citrix Systems, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
National Instruments Corporation 0 1 2 0 2.67
Citrix Systems 1 7 8 0 2.44

National Instruments Corporation currently has a consensus target price of $38.33, suggesting a potential downside of 13.72%. Citrix Systems has a consensus target price of $89.50, suggesting a potential upside of 3.46%. Given Citrix Systems’ higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Citrix Systems is more favorable than National Instruments Corporation.

Volatility and Risk

National Instruments Corporation has a beta of 0.94, suggesting that its stock price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Citrix Systems has a beta of 1.4, suggesting that its stock price is 40% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares National Instruments Corporation and Citrix Systems’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
National Instruments Corporation 8.72% 10.16% 7.64%
Citrix Systems 15.67% 31.32% 11.35%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares National Instruments Corporation and Citrix Systems’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
National Instruments Corporation $1.23 billion 4.73 $82.73 million $0.81 54.85
Citrix Systems $3.42 billion 3.81 $536.11 million $3.22 26.87

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

Institutional and Insider Ownership

78.7% of National Instruments Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 93.3% of Citrix Systems shares are owned by institutional investors. 9.9% of National Instruments Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.4% of Citrix Systems shares are owned by company 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.

Summary

Citrix Systems beats National Instruments Corporation on 11 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About National Instruments Corporation

National Instruments Corporation (NI) designs, manufactures and sells systems to engineers and scientists. The Company offers a line of measurement, automation and control products. It offers products, technology and services, which include system design software, programming tools, application software, modular hardware products and related driver software, production test systems, NI education platform, software products for teaching and hardware products for teaching. It also offers NI Services, including hardware services and maintenance, software maintenance services, and training and certification. Its products are used across various industries in a range of applications, including research and development, simulation and modeling, prototype and validation, production testing and industrial control and field and factory service and repair. It serves various industries and applications, such as consumer electronics, commercial aerospace, telecommunications and others.

About Citrix Systems

Citrix Systems, Inc. offers Enterprise and Service Provider products, which include Workspace Services solutions and Delivery Networking products. The Company’s Enterprise and Service Provider products include Cloud Services solutions, and related license updates and maintenance, support and professional services. The Company’s NetScaler nCore Technology is an architecture that enables execution of multiple packet engines in parallel. The Company’s workspace services include Application Virtualization and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), Enterprise Mobility Management and Citrix Workspace Suite. The Company’s NetScaler ADC is a software-defined application delivery controller (ADC) and load balancer. The Company’s Cloud Services include ShareFile and Citrix Cloud. It provides various ways for customers to receive upgrades, support and maintenance for products, which include Software Maintenance, Subscription Advantage, Technical Support Services and Hardware Maintenance.

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