Comparing Waters Corporation (WAT) and Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A)

Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A) and Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT) are both large-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, institutional ownership, risk, earnings, dividends and profitability.

Dividends

Agilent Technologies pays an annual dividend of $0.53 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.8%. Waters Corporation does not pay a dividend. Agilent Technologies pays out 27.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Risk & Volatility

Agilent Technologies has a beta of 1.3, suggesting that its stock price is 30% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Waters Corporation has a beta of 0.83, suggesting that its stock price is 17% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Agilent Technologies and Waters Corporation’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Agilent Technologies $4.39 billion 4.84 $1.02 billion $1.94 34.00
Waters Corporation $2.21 billion 6.78 $766.04 million $6.62 28.36

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

91.1% of Waters Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.1% of Waters Corporation shares are owned by company 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.

Profitability

This table compares Agilent Technologies and Waters Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Agilent Technologies 14.36% 16.95% 9.30%
Waters Corporation 24.26% 23.91% 11.89%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Agilent Technologies and Waters Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Agilent Technologies 0 2 10 0 2.83
Waters Corporation 2 5 5 0 2.25

Agilent Technologies presently has a consensus price target of $65.14, indicating a potential downside of 1.24%. Waters Corporation has a consensus price target of $185.20, indicating a potential downside of 1.35%. Given Agilent Technologies’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Agilent Technologies is more favorable than Waters Corporation.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies, Inc. provides application focused solutions that include instruments, software, services and consumables for the entire laboratory workflow. The Company serves the life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets. It has three business segments: life sciences and applied markets business, diagnostics and genomics business, and Agilent CrossLab business. Its life sciences and applied markets business segment offers instruments and software that enable customers to identify, quantify and analyze the physical and biological properties of substances and products, as well as enable customers in the clinical and life sciences research areas to interrogate samples at the molecular level. Its diagnostics and genomics business segment includes the reagent partnership, pathology, companion diagnostics, genomics and the nucleic acid solutions businesses. Its Agilent CrossLab business segment spans the entire lab with its consumables and services portfolio.

About Waters Corporation

Waters Corporation is an analytical instrument manufacturer. The Company operates through two segments: Waters and TA. It designs, manufactures, sells and services high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC and together with HPLC, referred to as LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) technology systems and support products, including chromatography columns, other consumable products and post-warranty service plans. It also designs, manufactures, sells and services thermal analysis, rheometry and calorimetry instruments through its TA product line. It is also a developer and supplier of software-based products that interface with the Company’s instruments, as well as other suppliers’ instruments. Its LC and LC-MS instruments are utilized in a range of industries to detect, identify, monitor and measure the chemical, physical and biological composition of materials, and to purify a range of compounds.

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