Murphy USA (NYSE: MUSA) and TravelCenters of America (NYSE:TA) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, profitabiliy, earnings, dividends, risk and institutional ownership.

Risk & Volatility

Murphy USA has a beta of 0.68, indicating that its share price is 32% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, TravelCenters of America has a beta of 2.92, indicating that its share price is 192% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

98.3% of Murphy USA shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.3% of Murphy USA shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.


This table compares Murphy USA and TravelCenters of America’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Murphy USA 1.10% 18.37% 6.44%
TravelCenters of America -2.11% -20.79% -7.19%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Murphy USA and TravelCenters of America, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Murphy USA 0 3 2 0 2.40
TravelCenters of America 0 1 2 0 2.67

Murphy USA presently has a consensus target price of $83.00, suggesting a potential upside of 13.09%. TravelCenters of America has a consensus target price of $7.25, suggesting a potential upside of 88.31%. Given TravelCenters of America’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe TravelCenters of America is more favorable than Murphy USA.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Murphy USA and TravelCenters of America’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Murphy USA $10.13 billion 0.27 $347.41 million $3.39 21.65
TravelCenters of America $5.75 billion 0.03 $99.40 million $0.06 64.17

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


Murphy USA beats TravelCenters of America on 9 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Murphy USA

Murphy USA Inc. is engaged in the marketing of retail motor fuel products and merchandise through a chain of retail stores. The Company operates through the Marketing segment. The Marketing segment includes its retail marketing sites and product supply, and wholesale assets. As of December 31, 2016, its retail stores were located in 26 states, primarily in the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest the United States. Out of the total 1,401 stores, 1,152 were branded Murphy USA and 249 were Murphy Express locations, as of December 31, 2016. Its retail stores under the brand name Murphy USA participate in the Walmart discount program. The Walmart discount program offers a cents-off per gallon purchased for fuel when using specific payment methods as decided by Walmart and the Company. Its business also includes product supply and wholesale assets, including product distribution terminals and pipeline positions.

About TravelCenters of America

TravelCenters of America LLC (TravelCenters) operates and franchises travel centers and convenience store and restaurant locations. The Company’s segments include travel centers, convenience stores, and corporate and other. The Company offers a range of products and services, including diesel fuel and gasoline, as well as nonfuel products and services, such as truck repair and maintenance services, full service restaurants, quick service restaurants (QSRs), travel/convenience stores and various customer amenities. Its customers include trucking fleets and their drivers, independent truck drivers, highway and local motorists, and casual diners. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s business included 255 travel centers in 43 states in the United States primarily along the United States interstate highway system, and the province of Ontario, Canada. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s business included 233 convenience stores in 11 states in the United States.

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