Applied Optoelectronics (NASDAQ: AAOI) and ViaSat (NASDAQ:VSAT) are both technology companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, earnings, institutional ownership, dividends, analyst recommendations, valuation and profitability.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Applied Optoelectronics and ViaSat, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Applied Optoelectronics 3 4 3 2 2.33
ViaSat 1 5 4 0 2.30

Applied Optoelectronics currently has a consensus price target of $53.80, indicating a potential upside of 75.13%. ViaSat has a consensus price target of $74.00, indicating a potential upside of 10.86%. Given Applied Optoelectronics’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Applied Optoelectronics is more favorable than ViaSat.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

75.7% of Applied Optoelectronics shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 99.4% of ViaSat shares are held by institutional investors. 8.2% of Applied Optoelectronics shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 7.7% of ViaSat shares are held by 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.

Profitability

This table compares Applied Optoelectronics and ViaSat’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Applied Optoelectronics 21.29% 32.35% 23.92%
ViaSat -2.59% -1.13% -0.66%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Applied Optoelectronics and ViaSat’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Applied Optoelectronics $260.71 million 2.28 $31.23 million $4.19 7.33
ViaSat $1.56 billion 2.49 $23.76 million ($0.71) -94.01

Applied Optoelectronics has higher earnings, but lower revenue than ViaSat. ViaSat is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Applied Optoelectronics, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

Applied Optoelectronics has a beta of 2.51, indicating that its stock price is 151% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, ViaSat has a beta of 0.8, indicating that its stock price is 20% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Applied Optoelectronics beats ViaSat on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Applied Optoelectronics Company Profile

Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. is a vertically integrated provider of fiber-optic networking products, primarily for networking end markets, such as Internet data center, cable television (CATV), fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and telecommunications (telecom). The Company designs and manufactures a range of optical communications products at varying levels of integration, from components, subassemblies and modules to turnkey equipment. To Internet-based data center operators, it supplies optical transceivers that plug into switches and servers within the data center and allow these network devices to send and receive data over fiber optic cables. The Company supplies a range of products, including lasers, transmitters and transceivers, and turnkey equipment, to the CATV market. The Company designs, manufactures and integrates its own analog and digital lasers using a combination of Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) and its Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) fabrication process.

ViaSat Company Profile

ViaSat, Inc. is engaged in broadband technologies and services. The Company operates through three segments: satellite services, commercial networks and government systems. The satellite services segment provides satellite-based broadband services to consumers, enterprises, commercial airlines and mobile broadband customers primarily in the United States. The commercial networks segment develops and produces a range of end-to-end satellite and wireless communication systems, ground networking equipment and space-to-earth connectivity systems. The government systems segment develops and produces network-centric Internet Protocol (IP)-based fixed and mobile secure government communications systems, products, services and solutions, which are designed to enable the collection and dissemination of real-time digital information between command centers, communications nodes and air defense systems.

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