Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA) and Esterline Technologies (NYSE:ESL) are both mid-cap aerospace companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, risk, profitability, analyst recommendations, earnings and institutional ownership.


Orbital ATK pays an annual dividend of $1.28 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.0%. Esterline Technologies does not pay a dividend. Orbital ATK pays out 23.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

86.7% of Orbital ATK shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 91.9% of Esterline Technologies shares are held by institutional investors. 1.2% of Orbital ATK shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.4% of Esterline Technologies shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations for Orbital ATK and Esterline Technologies, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Orbital ATK 0 8 3 0 2.27
Esterline Technologies 1 6 0 0 1.86

Orbital ATK presently has a consensus target price of $118.81, suggesting a potential downside of 10.30%. Esterline Technologies has a consensus target price of $92.33, suggesting a potential upside of 28.96%. Given Esterline Technologies’ higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Esterline Technologies is more favorable than Orbital ATK.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Orbital ATK and Esterline Technologies’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Orbital ATK $4.46 billion 1.72 $293.00 million $5.38 24.62
Esterline Technologies $2.00 billion 1.07 $117.38 million $3.90 18.36

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

Risk & Volatility

Orbital ATK has a beta of -0.23, indicating that its stock price is 123% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Esterline Technologies has a beta of 1.54, indicating that its stock price is 54% more volatile than the S&P 500.


This table compares Orbital ATK and Esterline Technologies’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Orbital ATK 6.62% 17.32% 6.08%
Esterline Technologies 5.86% 7.68% 4.35%


Orbital ATK beats Esterline Technologies on 11 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Orbital ATK Company Profile

Orbital ATK, Inc. is an aerospace and defense systems company and supplier of related products to the United States Government, allied nations, prime contractors and other customers. The Company’s segments include Flight Systems Group, Defense Systems Group, Space Systems Group and Corporate. Its products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; satellites and associated components and services; tactical missiles, subsystems and defense electronics, and precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition. The Flight Systems Group segment consists of Launch Vehicles Division, Propulsion Systems Division and Aerospace Structures Division. The Defense Systems Group segment consists of Armament Systems Division, Defense Electronic Division, Missile Products Division and Small Caliber Systems Division. The Space Systems Group consists of Commercial Satellites Division, Government Satellites Division, Space Components Division and Technical Services Division.

Esterline Technologies Company Profile

Esterline Technologies Corporation is a specialized manufacturing company. The Company designs, manufactures and markets engineered products and systems for application within the industries it serves. The Company operates through three segments: Avionics & Controls, Sensors & Systems, and Advanced Materials. The Company serves aerospace and defense customers. The Company’s Avionics & Controls business segment includes avionics systems, control and communication systems, and interface technologies capabilities. The Company’s Sensors & Systems business segment includes power systems, connection technologies and advanced sensors capabilities. The Company’s Advanced Materials business segment includes engineered materials and defense technologies capabilities. The Company designs and manufactures ruggedized military personal communication equipment, primarily headsets, handsets and field communications.

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