Hickok (OTCMKTS:HICKA) and MKS Instruments (NASDAQ:MKSI) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations, earnings and risk.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Hickok and MKS Instruments’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Hickok $66.38 million 0.61 $4.42 million $1.52 9.21
MKS Instruments $2.08 billion 2.33 $392.90 million $7.83 11.40

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

Profitability

This table compares Hickok and MKS Instruments’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Hickok 5.44% 45.11% 14.42%
MKS Instruments 18.93% 23.96% 16.82%

Dividends

MKS Instruments pays an annual dividend of $0.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.9%. Hickok does not pay a dividend. MKS Instruments pays out 10.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. MKS Instruments has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Risk and Volatility

Hickok has a beta of 0.39, meaning that its share price is 61% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, MKS Instruments has a beta of 1.33, meaning that its share price is 33% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

92.6% of MKS Instruments shares are owned by institutional investors. 82.2% of Hickok shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.7% of MKS Instruments shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Hickok and MKS Instruments, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Hickok 0 0 1 0 3.00
MKS Instruments 0 0 6 0 3.00

Hickok currently has a consensus price target of $14.00, indicating a potential upside of 0.00%. MKS Instruments has a consensus price target of $110.33, indicating a potential upside of 23.61%. Given MKS Instruments’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe MKS Instruments is more favorable than Hickok.

Summary

MKS Instruments beats Hickok on 13 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Hickok

Hickok Incorporated, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the commercial air handling, test and measurement, and industrial hose businesses in the United States. Its Test and Measurement segment primarily offers electronic testing products for the automotive and trucking industries. The segment offers automotive diagnostic products to original equipment manufacturers; and aircraft instruments to manufacturers of commercial, military, and personal airplanes, as well as indicators and gauges to manufacturers and servicers of railroad equipment and locomotives. The company's Industrial Hose segment manufactures flexible interlocking metal hoses; and distributes silicone hoses. It sells its metal hoses to heavy-duty truck manufacturers, as well as to agricultural, industrial, and petrochemical markets; and silicone hoses to agriculture and general industrial markets. Its Commercial Air Handling segment designs, manufactures, and installs commercial, institutional, and industrial custom air handling solutions under the FactoryBilt and SiteBilt brand names. It serves health care, education, pharmaceutical, and industrial manufacturing markets customers through sales representatives. The company also exports its products to Australia, Canada, England, Mexico, and internationally. Hickok Incorporated was founded in 1910 and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

About MKS Instruments

MKS Instruments, Inc. provides instruments, subsystems, and process control solutions that measure, control, power, deliver, monitor, and analyze critical parameters of manufacturing processes worldwide. The company operates through two segments, Vacuum & Analysis and Light & Motion. The Vacuum & Analysis segment provides analytical and control solutions products, including gas analyzers, automation control products, I/O modules, automation software, and precision machined components and electromechanical assemblies; and materials delivery solutions products comprising flow and valve technologies, as well as integrated pressure measurement and control subsystems to provide customers with precise control capabilities that are optimized for a given application. It also offers power delivery, plasma, and reactive gas generation products used in semiconductor and other thin film applications, and in medical imaging equipment applications; and direct and indirect pressure measurement and integrated process solutions. The Light & Motion segment offers lasers and laser-based systems, including lasers and amplifiers, fiber lasers, diode-pumped solid-state lasers, high-energy pulsed lasers, and tunable lasers, as well as accessories; optics products, such as precision optics, thin-film filters and coatings, replicated mirrors, and ruled and holographic diffraction gratings; and photonics products comprising optical components, vibration, lens assemblies, and isolation solutions, as well as three-dimensional non-contact measurement sensors and equipment. It markets and sells its products and services through global direct sales organization, independent distributors and sales representatives, Websites, and product catalogs. The company was founded in 1961 and is headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts.

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