Mueller Water Products (NYSE: MWA) and Actuant (NYSE:ATU) are both small-cap industrial products companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, dividends, valuation, institutional ownership, profitability, risk and analyst recommendations.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

84.0% of Mueller Water Products shares are owned by institutional investors. 3.0% of Mueller Water Products shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.1% of Actuant shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for Mueller Water Products and Actuant, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Mueller Water Products 0 2 6 0 2.75
Actuant 1 7 3 0 2.18

Mueller Water Products presently has a consensus target price of $14.00, suggesting a potential upside of 11.73%. Actuant has a consensus target price of $24.38, suggesting a potential downside of 3.66%. Given Mueller Water Products’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Mueller Water Products is more favorable than Actuant.

Profitability

This table compares Mueller Water Products and Actuant’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Mueller Water Products 14.93% 15.43% 5.70%
Actuant -5.89% 9.29% 3.32%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Mueller Water Products and Actuant’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Mueller Water Products $826.00 million 2.40 $123.30 million $0.76 16.49
Actuant $1.10 billion 1.38 -$66.21 million ($1.11) -22.79

Mueller Water Products has higher earnings, but lower revenue than Actuant. Actuant is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Mueller Water Products, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Mueller Water Products pays an annual dividend of $0.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.3%. Actuant pays an annual dividend of $0.04 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.2%. Mueller Water Products pays out 21.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Actuant pays out -3.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Actuant has increased its dividend for 2 consecutive years.

Volatility and Risk

Mueller Water Products has a beta of 1.33, meaning that its stock price is 33% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Actuant has a beta of 1.65, meaning that its stock price is 65% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Mueller Water Products beats Actuant on 12 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Mueller Water Products Company Profile

Mueller Water Products, Inc. is a manufacturer and marketer of products and services used in the transmission, distribution and measurement of water in North America. The Company operates through three segments: Mueller Co., Anvil and Mueller Technologies. The Mueller Co. segment manufactures valves for water and gas systems, and dry-barrel and wet-barrel fire hydrants. The Anvil segment manufactures and sources a range of products, including a range of fittings, couplings, hangers and related products. The Mueller Technologies segment offers metering systems, leak detection, pipe condition assessment and other products and services for the water infrastructure industry. The Mueller Technologies segment includes Mueller Systems and Echologics businesses. The Company offers a range of water infrastructure, flow control and piping component system products and services in the United States and Canada.

Actuant Company Profile

Actuant Corporation designs, manufactures and distributes a range of industrial products and systems to various end markets. The Company operates through three segments: Industrial, Energy and Engineered Solutions. The Company’s Industrial segment is primarily involved in the design, manufacture and distribution of branded hydraulic and mechanical tools to the maintenance, industrial, infrastructure and production automation markets. The Company’s Energy segment provides joint integrity products and services, customized offshore vessel mooring solutions, as well as rope and cable solutions to the global oil and gas, power generation and other energy markets. The Company’s Engineered Solutions segment provides engineered position and motion control systems to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in various on and off-highway vehicle markets, as well as various other products to the industrial and agricultural markets.

Receive News & Ratings for Mueller Water Products Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Mueller Water Products and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.