Luna Innovations (NASDAQ:LUNA) and Geovax Labs (OTCMKTS:GOVX) are both small-cap business services companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, valuation, dividends, analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership and earnings.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Luna Innovations and Geovax Labs, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Luna Innovations 0 1 2 0 2.67
Geovax Labs 0 0 0 0 N/A

Luna Innovations presently has a consensus price target of $4.50, indicating a potential upside of 11.66%. Given Luna Innovations’ higher possible upside, research analysts clearly believe Luna Innovations is more favorable than Geovax Labs.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

21.9% of Luna Innovations shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 17.6% of Geovax Labs shares are owned by institutional investors. 11.2% of Luna Innovations shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 3.0% of Geovax Labs shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Luna Innovations and Geovax Labs’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Luna Innovations $42.92 million 2.64 $11.00 million $0.04 100.75
Geovax Labs $960,000.00 0.56 -$2.56 million ($10.00) -0.09

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

Volatility and Risk

Luna Innovations has a beta of 0.71, suggesting that its share price is 29% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Geovax Labs has a beta of 0.78, suggesting that its share price is 22% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Luna Innovations and Geovax Labs’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Luna Innovations 22.56% 5.52% 4.43%
Geovax Labs -238.91% N/A -501.47%

Summary

Luna Innovations beats Geovax Labs on 12 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Luna Innovations Company Profile

Luna Innovations Incorporated develops, manufactures, and markets fiber optic sensing, and test and measurement products worldwide. It operates in two segments, Products and Licensing, and Technology Development. The Products and Licensing segment offers fiber optic sensing products, as well as test and measurement products to monitor the integrity of fiber optic network components and sub-assemblies, which include optical vector analyzer, optical backscatter reflectometers, and the Phoenix family of tunable lasers; and distributed sensing systems comprising optical distributed sensor interrogator sensing solution with multiple sensors whose inputs are integrated through a fiber optic network and software. This segment also offers optoelectronic solutions for various applications, such as metrology, missile guidance, flame monitoring, temperature sensing, particle detection, color sensing, infrared detection, and other applications; and terahertz sensing systems, which are used to measure and verify physical properties online and in real-time. In addition, this segment conducts applied research in the fiber optic sensing area for corporate and government customers. The Technology Development segment provides applied research for customers principally in the areas of sensing and instrumentation, advanced materials, and health sciences. The company sells its products to telecommunications companies, defense agencies, government system integrators, researchers, original equipment manufacturers, distributors, testing labs, and strategic partners directly, as well as through manufacturer representative organizations, partner and distribution channels, technical sales engineers, value added resellers, and independent sales representatives. Luna Innovations Incorporated was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia.

Geovax Labs Company Profile

GeoVax Labs, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company, develops human vaccines and immunotherapies against infectious diseases and cancers using modified vaccinia ankara virus-like particle vaccine platform in the United States and internationally. It is developing various preventive vaccines against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Zika virus; malaria; and hemorrhagic fever viruses, such as Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, and Lassa, as well as therapeutic vaccines for chronic Hepatitis B infections and cancers. The company has collaboration and partnership agreements with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health; the HIV Vaccines Trial Network; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Disease; U.S. Naval Research Laboratory; Emory University; University of Pittsburgh; Georgia State University Research Foundation; University of Texas Medical Branch; the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland; the Scripps Research Institute; the Burnet Institute; American Gene Technologies, Inc.; Viamune, Inc.; Vaxeal Holding SA; CaroGen Corporation; Virometix AG; U.S. Department of Defense; Geneva Foundation; Enesi Pharma; and Leidos, Inc. GeoVax Labs, Inc. was founded in 2001 and is based in Smyrna, Georgia.

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