AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) and Astronics Corporation (NASDAQ:ATRO) are both small-cap aerospace companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, risk, valuation, institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations and dividends.

Volatility and Risk

AeroVironment has a beta of 1.29, meaning that its share price is 29% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Astronics Corporation has a beta of 1.17, meaning that its share price is 17% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares AeroVironment and Astronics Corporation’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
AeroVironment $272.42 million 4.63 $29.48 million $0.84 64.38
Astronics Corporation $612.68 million 1.44 $86.53 million $1.38 22.30

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

Profitability

This table compares AeroVironment and Astronics Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
AeroVironment 7.22% 5.40% 4.83%
Astronics Corporation 6.73% 12.12% 6.72%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings for AeroVironment and Astronics Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
AeroVironment 0 4 0 0 2.00
Astronics Corporation 0 1 1 0 2.50

AeroVironment currently has a consensus target price of $39.00, suggesting a potential downside of 27.88%. Astronics Corporation has a consensus target price of $35.50, suggesting a potential upside of 15.33%. Given Astronics Corporation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Astronics Corporation is more favorable than AeroVironment.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

77.6% of AeroVironment shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 65.6% of Astronics Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 11.0% of AeroVironment shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 16.5% of Astronics Corporation shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Astronics Corporation beats AeroVironment on 9 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About AeroVironment

AeroVironment, Inc. designs, develops, produces, supports and operates a portfolio of products and services for government agencies, businesses and consumers. The Company operates through two segments: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which focuses primarily on the design, development, production, support and operation of UAS and tactical missile systems that provide situational awareness, multi-band communications, force protection and other mission effects, and Efficient Energy Systems (EES), which focuses primarily on the design, development, production, marketing, support and operation of electric energy systems. The Company supplies UAS, tactical missile systems and related services primarily to organizations within the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The Company also supplies charging systems and services for electric vehicles (EVs), and power cycling and test systems to commercial, consumer and government customers.

About Astronics Corporation

Astronics Corporation is a supplier of products to the aerospace, defense, electronics and semiconductor industries. The Company’s products and services include electrical power generation, distribution and motion systems, lighting and safety systems, avionics products, aircraft structures, systems certification and automated test systems. The Company operates through two segments: Aerospace and Test Systems. The Aerospace segment designs and manufactures products for the global aerospace industry. Its product lines include lighting and safety systems, electrical power generation, distribution and motions systems, aircraft structures, avionics products, systems certification and other products. The Test Systems segment designs, develops, manufactures and maintains automated test systems that support the semiconductor, aerospace, communications and weapons test systems, as well as training and simulation devices for both commercial and military applications.

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