Cabot Corporation (NYSE: CBT) and Sensient Technologies Corporation (NYSE:SXT) are both mid-cap specialty chemicals – nec companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, profitability, institutional ownership, earnings, valuation, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Earnings & Valuation

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

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Cabot Corporation $2.72 billion 1.46 $149.00 million $2.34 27.35
Sensient Technologies Corporation $1.38 billion 2.38 $126.25 million $2.42 30.96

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

Institutional & Insider Ownership

84.3% of Cabot Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 88.6% of Sensient Technologies Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 2.5% of Cabot Corporation shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.0% of Sensient Technologies Corporation shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

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

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Cabot Corporation 8.87% 15.11% 6.96%
Sensient Technologies Corporation 7.89% 17.34% 8.85%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Cabot Corporation and Sensient Technologies Corporation, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Cabot Corporation 0 3 4 0 2.57
Sensient Technologies Corporation 0 0 2 0 3.00

Cabot Corporation currently has a consensus price target of $61.33, suggesting a potential downside of 4.15%. Sensient Technologies Corporation has a consensus price target of $89.15, suggesting a potential upside of 18.98%. Given Sensient Technologies Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Sensient Technologies Corporation is more favorable than Cabot Corporation.

Dividends

Cabot Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.26 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.0%. Sensient Technologies Corporation pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.6%. Cabot Corporation pays out 53.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Sensient Technologies Corporation pays out 49.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Cabot Corporation has raised its dividend for 5 consecutive years and Sensient Technologies Corporation has raised its dividend for 5 consecutive years.

Risk & Volatility

Cabot Corporation has a beta of 1.11, indicating that its stock price is 11% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Sensient Technologies Corporation has a beta of 1.08, indicating that its stock price is 8% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Sensient Technologies Corporation beats Cabot Corporation on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Cabot Corporation

Cabot Corporation is a global specialty chemicals and performance materials company. The Company operates through four business segments: reinforcement materials, performance chemicals, purification solutions and specialty fluids. Reinforcement materials’ rubber grade carbon blacks are used to enhance the physical properties of the systems and applications in which they are incorporated. Its rubber blacks products are used in tires and industrial products. Performance Chemicals consists of two businesses: specialty carbons and formulations business, and metal oxides business. Purification Solutions’ activated carbon products are used for the purification of water, air and pharmaceuticals, among others, as either a colorant or a decolorizing agent in the production of food and beverage applications. Its specialty fluids segment produces and markets cesium formate as a drilling and completion fluid for use in high pressure and high temperature oil and gas well construction.

About Sensient Technologies Corporation

Sensient Technologies Corporation is a manufacturer and marketer of colors, flavors and fragrances. The Company uses technologies at facilities around the world to develop specialty food and beverage systems, cosmetic and pharmaceutical systems, specialty inks and colors, and other specialty and fine chemicals. The Company’s three segments include the Flavors & Fragrances Group and the Color Group, which are managed on a product-and-services basis, and the Asia Pacific Group, which is managed on a geographic basis. The Company’s principal products include flavors, flavor enhancers and bionutrients; fragrances, aroma chemicals and essential oils; natural ingredients, including dehydrated vegetables and other food ingredients; natural and synthetic food and beverage colors; cosmetic colors and ingredients and pharmaceutical excipients and ingredients, and technical colors, specialty inks and colors, and specialty dyes and pigments.

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