Mettler-Toledo International (NYSE: MTD) and MKS Instruments (NASDAQ:MKSI) are both mid-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, risk, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, earnings and profitability.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for Mettler-Toledo International and MKS Instruments, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Mettler-Toledo International 0 4 4 0 2.50
MKS Instruments 0 0 4 0 3.00

Mettler-Toledo International presently has a consensus price target of $606.67, indicating a potential downside of 2.07%. MKS Instruments has a consensus price target of $109.75, indicating a potential upside of 16.14%. Given MKS Instruments’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe MKS Instruments is more favorable than Mettler-Toledo International.

Dividends

MKS Instruments pays an annual dividend of $0.72 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.8%. Mettler-Toledo International does not pay a dividend. MKS Instruments pays out 12.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

91.6% of Mettler-Toledo International shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 95.4% of MKS Instruments shares are held by institutional investors. 5.2% of Mettler-Toledo International shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.7% of MKS Instruments shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Volatility & Risk

Mettler-Toledo International has a beta of 1.09, meaning that its share price is 9% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, MKS Instruments has a beta of 1.04, meaning that its share price is 4% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Mettler-Toledo International and MKS Instruments’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Mettler-Toledo International 16.44% 96.81% 19.64%
MKS Instruments 16.97% 21.21% 12.66%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Mettler-Toledo International and MKS Instruments’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Mettler-Toledo International $2.51 billion 6.32 $384.37 million $16.48 37.59
MKS Instruments $1.30 billion 3.96 $104.80 million $5.59 16.91

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

Summary

Mettler-Toledo International beats MKS Instruments on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Mettler-Toledo International Company Profile

Mettler-Toledo International Inc. is a supplier of precision instruments and services. The Company operates through five segments: U.S. Operations, Swiss Operations, Western European Operations, Chinese Operations and Other. The Company manufactures weighing instruments for use in laboratory, industrial, packaging, logistics and food retailing applications. The Company is also a provider of analytical instruments for use in life science, reaction engineering and real-time analytic systems used in drug and chemical compound development, and process analytics instruments used for in-line measurement in production processes. In addition, the Company is also a supplier of end-of-line inspection systems used in production and packaging for food, pharmaceutical and other industries. The Company serves food and beverage producers; food retailers; chemical, specialty chemicals and cosmetics companies, and the transportation and logistics industry, among others.

MKS Instruments Company Profile

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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