Waters Corporation (NYSE: WAT) and Alere (NYSE:ALR) are both mid-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, earnings, valuation, dividends, profitability, risk and analyst recommendations.

Risk and Volatility

Waters Corporation has a beta of 0.84, indicating that its share price is 16% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Alere has a beta of 0.2, indicating that its share price is 80% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations for Waters Corporation and Alere, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Waters Corporation 2 5 5 0 2.25
Alere 0 5 0 0 2.00

Waters Corporation currently has a consensus price target of $185.20, suggesting a potential upside of 2.70%. Alere has a consensus price target of $48.00, suggesting a potential downside of 2.24%. Given Waters Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Waters Corporation is more favorable than Alere.


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

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Waters Corporation 24.26% 23.91% 11.89%
Alere -10.73% 4.54% 1.01%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

91.1% of Waters Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 88.8% of Alere shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.1% of Waters Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 3.7% of Alere shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Waters Corporation and Alere’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Waters Corporation $2.21 billion 6.51 $766.04 million $6.62 27.24
Alere $2.32 billion 1.85 $261.20 million ($2.45) -20.04

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


Waters Corporation beats Alere on 12 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Waters Corporation Company Profile

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.

Alere Company Profile

Alere Inc. is a provider of health information through diagnostic tests. The Company’s segments include professional diagnostics, consumer diagnostics, and corporate and other. The professional diagnostics segment includes an array of diagnostic test products and other in vitro diagnostic tests marketed to medical professionals and laboratories for detection of diseases and conditions within its areas of focus. The consumer diagnostics segment consists primarily of manufacturing operations related to its role as the exclusive manufacturer of products for SPD Swiss Precision Diagnostics (SPD), its joint venture with The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). The Company’s professional diagnostic solutions allow patients and their healthcare providers to work together to manage patients’ conditions over the continuum of care, from the hospital to home. The Company offers lines of drugs-of-abuse tests, reagent systems and laboratory testing options.

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