Back to top

Image: Bigstock

2 Instruments Stocks to Buy From a Prospering Industry

Read MoreHide Full Article

The Zacks Instruments - Scientific industry is benefiting from increasing healthcare spending, driven by an aging demography, and continued innovation in the pharma and life sciences end-markets. Higher demand for generic drugs and biosimilars is driving growth for scientific tool and apparatus providers. Industry participants like Mettler-Toledo International (MTD - Free Report) and Bruker (BRKR - Free Report) are gaining from the growing testing needs of newer biological drugs. Increased scrutiny of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances in food and water is driving the need for instruments. Moreover, the increasing demand for automated solutions that help in ensuring compliance is noteworthy. However, the industry continues to suffer from challenging macroeconomic conditions, low PMI readings in Europe, the continuing war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East.

Industry Description

The Zacks Instruments - Scientific industry comprises companies offering scientific instruments, analytical tools, diagnostic solutions, precision instruments & services, and test & sensor solutions. The primary end markets served by the industry participants are life science research in academia, medical schools and government, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, microbiology and diagnostics, nanotechnology, and materials science research. A few companies also serve the food and nutritional safety, biochemical, and industrial spaces. Most industry participants are under stringent regulatory scrutiny worldwide. They have to adhere to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency norms, as well as rules set by other global regulatory bodies, for serving highly regulated end-markets like life sciences and pharma.

3 Trends Shaping the Instruments-Scientific Industry's Future

Strong End-Market Demand: The industry is benefiting from strong end-market demand, particularly from the life science, pharmaceutical and academic markets. Increasing demand for generic drugs and biosimilars is driving growth for scientific tool and apparatus providers. Pharma companies are focused on rapidly growing areas like proteomics and phenomics, biopharma and applied, microbiology and diagnostics, and neuroscience and cell microscopy. This creates significant demand for the instruments provided by industry participants.

Aging Demography Driving Spending: Socioeconomic factors like aging demography and increasing environmental regulations are fueling the demand for scientific measurement solutions. Robust worldwide healthcare spending is another major growth driver.

Emerging Market Prospects Solid: The industry is gaining from increasing exposure to developing economies like China and India. Prospects in China are huge as regulators attempt to raise the country’s biopharma industry to global standards. Efforts to improve the country’s drug development process and production quality are noteworthy. Robust investments in segments like lithium-ion batteries and biopharma are driving prospects. The growing demand for automation is a long-term driver in China. These factors result in a strong demand for instruments.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bullish Prospects

The Zacks Instruments - Scientific industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #8, which places it in the top 3% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bullish near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than two to one.

The industry’s position in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, analysts are optimistic about this group’s earnings growth potential. Since Nov 30, 2023, the industry’s earnings estimates have moved up 3%.

Given the bullish near-term outlook, there are a few stocks in the industry worth watching. Before we present those stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.

Industry Lags Sector and S&P 500

The Zacks Instruments – Scientific industry has underperformed the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the S&P 500 composite over the past year.

The industry has declined 10% over this period compared with the S&P 500’s increase of 25.9% and the broader sector’s jump of 48.9%.

One-Year Price Performance

Industry's Current Valuation

On the basis of the forward 12-month P/E, which is a commonly used multiple for valuing scientific instrument stocks, we see that the industry is currently trading at 28.76X compared with the S&P 500’s 20.71X and the Zacks Computer and Technology sector’s 21.29X.

Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 32.33X and as low as 22.03X, with a median of 27.53X, as the charts below show.

Forward 12-Month Price-to-Earnings (P/E) Ratio



2 Scientific Instruments Providers to Buy

Mettler-Toledo: This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is benefiting from solid momentum across its food retail segment. Strengthening presence in the Europe and Americas regions remains positive. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Portfolio strength, cost-cutting efforts, robust sales and marketing strategies, benefits from investments in Spinnaker sales, and field resources are contributing well. Additionally, solid demand across pharmaceutical and life science markets is a positive.

Shares of this Polaris Parkway, Columbus-based company have declined 2.1% in the year-to-date period. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for MTD’s current-year earnings has increased 0.9% to $39.79 per share in the past 30 days.

Price and Consensus: MTD


Bruker: This Billerica, MA-based company is riding on its innovative portfolio. The company continues on its trajectory of delivering excellent organic growth while ramping up investments in the dual strategy of Project Accelerate 2.0 initiatives and operational excellence.

The addition of BCA (formerly known as PhenomeX) complements the Bruker cellular and sub-cellular analysis tools and brings opportunities for commercial synergies.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Bruker’s current-year earnings has increased by a couple of cents to $2.74 per share over the past 30 days. Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 company have gained 11.4% year to date.

Price and Consensus: BRKR

See More Zacks Research for These Tickers

Normally $25 each - click below to receive one report FREE:

Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. (MTD) - free report >>

Bruker Corporation (BRKR) - free report >>

Published in