Matrix Service (NASDAQ: MTRX) and CARBO Ceramics (NYSE:CRR) are both small-cap energy companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, risk, valuation, earnings and dividends.

Volatility & Risk

Matrix Service has a beta of 0.85, suggesting that its stock price is 15% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, CARBO Ceramics has a beta of 2, suggesting that its stock price is 100% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Matrix Service and CARBO Ceramics’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Matrix Service -0.51% -1.75% -0.96%
CARBO Ceramics -79.49% -16.48% -13.73%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

88.3% of Matrix Service shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 74.4% of CARBO Ceramics shares are owned by institutional investors. 2.5% of Matrix Service shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 16.2% of CARBO Ceramics shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Matrix Service and CARBO Ceramics’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Matrix Service $1.20 billion 0.44 -$180,000.00 ($0.22) -89.09
CARBO Ceramics $103.05 million 2.94 -$80.12 million ($4.69) -2.38

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Matrix Service and CARBO Ceramics, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Matrix Service 0 2 0 0 2.00
CARBO Ceramics 1 3 1 0 2.00

CARBO Ceramics has a consensus target price of $11.20, indicating a potential upside of 0.27%. Given CARBO Ceramics’ higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe CARBO Ceramics is more favorable than Matrix Service.

Summary

Matrix Service beats CARBO Ceramics on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Matrix Service

Matrix Service Company provides engineering, fabrication, infrastructure, construction and maintenance services primarily to the oil, gas, power, petrochemical, industrial, mining and minerals markets. The Company’s segments include Electrical Infrastructure, Oil Gas & Chemical, Storage Solutions and Industrial. The Electrical Infrastructure segment primarily includes construction and maintenance services to a range of power generation facilities, such as combined cycle plants, natural gas fired power stations and renewable energy installations. The Oil Gas & Chemical segment includes turnaround activities, plant maintenance services and construction in the downstream petroleum industry. The Storage Solutions segment includes new construction of crude and refined products aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), as well as planned and emergency maintenance services. The Industrial segment includes construction and maintenance work in the iron and steel and mining and minerals industries.

About CARBO Ceramics

CARBO Ceramics Inc. is a technology company that provides products and services to the global oil and gas and industrial markets. The Company operates through two segments: Oilfield Technologies and Services, and Environmental Products and Services. The Company’s oilfield technologies and services segment includes the manufacturing and selling of proppant products for use primarily in the hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas wells, Fracpro software for the design of fracture treatments, and StrataGen consulting services for the optimizing of well completions. The Company’s environmental products and services segment is intended to protect operators’ assets, minimize environmental risks, and lower lease operating expense (LOE). The Company, through Asset Guard Products Inc. (AGPI), provides spill prevention, containment and countermeasure systems for the oil and gas industry. The Company manufactures various ceramic proppants.

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