Reviewing SPX (SPXC) & Proto Labs (PRLB)

SPX (NYSE: SPXC) and Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB) are both industrials companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, risk, earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations and valuation.


This table compares SPX and Proto Labs’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
SPX -3.86% 37.49% 4.23%
Proto Labs 14.53% 11.63% 10.54%

Insider and Institutional Ownership

86.9% of SPX shares are held by institutional investors. 0.6% of SPX shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 7.8% of Proto Labs 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.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for SPX and Proto Labs, as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
SPX 0 0 0 0 N/A
Proto Labs 0 3 0 0 2.00

Proto Labs has a consensus target price of $73.67, indicating a potential downside of 32.63%. Given Proto Labs’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Proto Labs is more favorable than SPX.

Volatility & Risk

SPX has a beta of 1.75, suggesting that its share price is 75% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Proto Labs has a beta of 1.07, suggesting that its share price is 7% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares SPX and Proto Labs’ top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
SPX $1.47 billion 0.95 -$67.20 million $0.77 42.77
Proto Labs $298.05 million 9.78 $42.70 million $1.75 62.49

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


Proto Labs beats SPX on 8 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

About SPX

SPX Corporation is a global supplier of infrastructure equipment. The Company operates through three segments: HVAC; Detection and Measurement, and Engineered Solutions. The HVAC solutions offered by its businesses include package cooling towers, residential and commercial boilers, heating and ventilation products. Its detection and measurement product lines encompass underground pipe and cable locators, and inspection equipment. Within its power platform, it is a manufacturer of medium and large power transformers, as well as equipment for various types of power plant, including cooling equipment, heat exchangers and pollution control systems. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had operations in approximately 15 countries.

About Proto Labs

Proto Labs, Inc. is an e-commerce driven digital manufacturer of on-demand three dimensional (3D) printed, computer numerical control (CNC) machined and injection-molded custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. The Company’s geographic segments include the United States, Europe and Japan. The Company targets its products to the product developers and engineers who use 3D computer-aided design (3D CAD) software to design products across a range of end markets. Its product lines include Injection Molding, CNC Machining and 3D Printing. Its Injection Molding product line is used for prototype, on-demand and short-run production. Its CNC Machining product line uses commercially available CNC machines to cut plastic or metal blocks into one or more custom parts. Its 3D Printing product line includes stereolithography (SL), selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) processes. The Company also provides low-volume sheet metal fabrication services.

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