Waters (NYSE: WAT) and Cynosure (NASDAQ:CYNO) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, profitability, risk, institutional ownership, earnings, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Profitability

This table compares Waters and Cynosure’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Waters 24.34% 23.61% 11.84%
Cynosure 0.70% 0.75% 0.59%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Waters and Cynosure, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Waters 1 9 5 0 2.27
Cynosure 0 3 1 0 2.25

Waters presently has a consensus target price of $192.17, suggesting a potential downside of 1.55%. Cynosure has a consensus target price of $58.00, suggesting a potential downside of 12.32%. Given Waters’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe Waters is more favorable than Cynosure.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Waters and Cynosure’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Waters $2.17 billion 7.16 $521.50 million $6.78 28.79
Cynosure N/A N/A N/A $0.60 110.25

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

92.3% of Waters shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.1% of Waters shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 2.9% of Cynosure shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

Waters beats Cynosure on 10 of the 10 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Waters

Waters Corporation is an analytical instrument manufacturer. The Company operates through two segments: Waters and TA. It designs, manufactures, sells and services high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC and together with HPLC, referred to as LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) technology systems and support products, including chromatography columns, other consumable products and post-warranty service plans. It also designs, manufactures, sells and services thermal analysis, rheometry and calorimetry instruments through its TA product line. It is also a developer and supplier of software-based products that interface with the Company’s instruments, as well as other suppliers’ instruments. Its LC and LC-MS instruments are utilized in a range of industries to detect, identify, monitor and measure the chemical, physical and biological composition of materials, and to purify a range of compounds.

About Cynosure

Cynosure, Inc. develops, manufactures and markets aesthetic treatment systems that enable plastic surgeons, dermatologists and other medical practitioners to perform non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures to remove hair, treat vascular and benign pigmented lesions, remove multi-colored tattoos, revitalize the skin, reduce fat through laser lipolysis, reduce cellulite, clear nails infected by toe fungus, ablate sweat glands and improve women’s health. The Company also markets radiofrequency (RF), energy-sourced medical devices for surgical applications, such as facial plastic and general surgery, gynecology, ear, nose, and throat procedures, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, podiatry and proctology. The Company sells its products globally under the Cynosure, Palomar, ConBio and Ellman brand names. Its product portfolio includes single energy source systems, as well as workstations that incorporate two or more different types of lasers or light-based technologies.

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