Plantronics (NYSE: PLT) and Clearfield (NASDAQ:CLFD) are both small-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, valuation, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, earnings, dividends and profitability.

Risk and Volatility

Plantronics has a beta of 1.24, indicating that its share price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Clearfield has a beta of 1.26, indicating that its share price is 26% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Plantronics and Clearfield’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Plantronics 9.41% 20.12% 7.54%
Clearfield 5.20% 5.95% 5.50%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

90.3% of Plantronics shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 28.7% of Clearfield shares are held by institutional investors. 3.2% of Plantronics shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 18.3% of Clearfield shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Plantronics pays an annual dividend of $0.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.2%. Clearfield does not pay a dividend. Plantronics pays out 24.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Plantronics and Clearfield’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Plantronics $881.18 million 1.95 $82.59 million $2.43 21.33
Clearfield $73.95 million 2.60 $3.84 million $0.28 49.64

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Plantronics and Clearfield, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Plantronics 0 1 2 0 2.67
Clearfield 0 0 2 0 3.00

Plantronics presently has a consensus price target of $57.33, indicating a potential upside of 10.62%. Clearfield has a consensus price target of $15.50, indicating a potential upside of 11.51%. Given Clearfield’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Clearfield is more favorable than Plantronics.

Summary

Plantronics beats Clearfield on 8 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Plantronics

Plantronics, Inc. (Plantronics) is engaged in the design, manufacture, and distribution of headsets for business and consumer applications, and other specialty products for the hearing impaired. The Company is a global designer, manufacturer and marketer of communications headsets, telephone headset systems, other communication endpoints and accessories for the business and consumer markets. The Company develops communication products for offices and contact centers, mobile devices, cordless phones, and computers and gaming consoles. Its product categories include Enterprise, which includes corded and cordless communication headsets, audio processors, and telephone systems, and Consumer, which includes Bluetooth and corded products for mobile device applications, personal computer (PC) and gaming headsets, and specialty products marketed for hearing impaired individuals. It offers its products under two brands: Plantronics and Clarity.

About Clearfield

Clearfield, Inc. manufactures, markets and sells fiber management and enclosure platform that consolidates, distributes and protects fiber as it moves from the inside plant to the outside plant and all the way to the home, business and cell site. The Company’s products include Clearview Cassette, which is the building block of its product platform; Connectivity and Optical Components; FieldSmart, which is a series of panels, cabinets, wall boxes and other enclosures that house the Clearview components; FieldShield, which is a fiber delivery method for broadband deployment; CraftSmart, which is a line of optical protection field enclosures, and Cable Assemblies. Its products are sold across broadband service providers, including traditional telephone companies, competitive local exchange carriers, multiple service operators (cable television), wireless service providers, and municipal-owned utilities that utilize fiber in their service offerings to businesses and consumers.

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