J.B. Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ: JBHT) and Marten Transport (NASDAQ:MRTN) are both transportation companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their profitabiliy, valuation, risk, dividends, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership and earnings.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and target prices for J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Marten Transport, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
J.B. Hunt Transport Services 0 6 9 0 2.60
Marten Transport 0 3 0 0 2.00

J.B. Hunt Transport Services presently has a consensus target price of $97.00, suggesting a potential upside of 8.28%. Marten Transport has a consensus target price of $23.50, suggesting a potential downside of 15.01%. Given J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe J.B. Hunt Transport Services is more favorable than Marten Transport.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Marten Transport’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
J.B. Hunt Transport Services $6.66 billion 1.48 $1.07 billion $3.86 23.21
Marten Transport $682.37 million 1.32 $130.73 million $1.02 27.11

J.B. Hunt Transport Services has higher revenue and earnings than Marten Transport. J.B. Hunt Transport Services is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Marten Transport, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Marten Transport’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
J.B. Hunt Transport Services 6.54% 30.67% 11.33%
Marten Transport 4.91% 7.74% 5.17%

Risk and Volatility

J.B. Hunt Transport Services has a beta of 0.95, indicating that its share price is 5% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Marten Transport has a beta of 1.28, indicating that its share price is 28% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

73.3% of J.B. Hunt Transport Services shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 68.6% of Marten Transport shares are held by institutional investors. 4.3% of J.B. Hunt Transport Services shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 23.0% of Marten Transport shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

J.B. Hunt Transport Services pays an annual dividend of $0.92 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.0%. Marten Transport pays an annual dividend of $0.10 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.4%. J.B. Hunt Transport Services pays out 23.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Marten Transport pays out 9.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. J.B. Hunt Transport Services has raised its dividend for 13 consecutive years. J.B. Hunt Transport Services is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Summary

J.B. Hunt Transport Services beats Marten Transport on 13 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About J.B. Hunt Transport Services

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. is a surface transportation, delivery, and logistics company in North America. The Company segments include Intermodal (JBI), Dedicated Contract Services (DCS), Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS) and Truck (JBT). The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides transportation and delivery services to a range of customers and consumers throughout the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. The JBI segment draws on the intermodal services of rail carriers for the underlying linehaul movement of its equipment between rail ramps. Its DCS segment focuses on private fleet conversion and creation in replenishment, specialized equipment and final-mile delivery services. Its ICS segment provides traditional freight brokerage and transportation logistics solutions to customers through relationships with third-party carriers and integration. Its JBT segment offers full-load, dry-van freight, utilizing tractors operating over roads and highways.

About Marten Transport

Marten Transport, Ltd. is a temperature-sensitive truckload carrier. The Company focuses on transporting and distributing food and other consumer-packaged goods that require a temperature-controlled or insulated environment. The Company operates through four segments: Truckload, Dedicated, Intermodal and Brokerage. It operates throughout the United States and in parts of Canada and Mexico. The Company’s medium-to-long-haul traffic lanes are between the Midwest and the West Coast, Southwest, Southeast, and the East Coast, as well as from California to the Pacific Northwest. It provides regional truckload carrier services in the Southeast, West Coast, Midwest, South Central and Northeast regions. It also offers loading and unloading activities, equipment detention and other ancillary services. The Company’s Truckload segment provides a combination of regional short-haul and medium-to-long-haul full-load transportation services.

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