Forward Air Corporation (NASDAQ: FWRD) and Expeditors International of Washington (NASDAQ:EXPD) are both transportation companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, earnings, risk, institutional ownership, profitabiliy and analyst recommendations.

Volatility & Risk

Forward Air Corporation has a beta of 1.07, indicating that its stock price is 7% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Expeditors International of Washington has a beta of 0.64, indicating that its stock price is 36% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Forward Air Corporation and Expeditors International of Washington’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Forward Air Corporation $999.96 million 1.62 $141.81 million $0.95 56.58
Expeditors International of Washington $6.22 billion 1.71 $711.85 million $2.35 25.13

Expeditors International of Washington has higher revenue and earnings than Forward Air Corporation. Expeditors International of Washington is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Forward Air Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares Forward Air Corporation and Expeditors International of Washington’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Forward Air Corporation 2.88% 13.06% 10.11%
Expeditors International of Washington 6.87% 23.01% 15.25%

Insider and Institutional Ownership

98.2% of Forward Air Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 94.1% of Expeditors International of Washington shares are held by institutional investors. 2.4% of Forward Air Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.8% of Expeditors International of Washington shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Forward Air Corporation and Expeditors International of Washington, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Forward Air Corporation 0 4 1 0 2.20
Expeditors International of Washington 2 5 2 0 2.00

Forward Air Corporation presently has a consensus price target of $47.00, indicating a potential downside of 12.56%. Expeditors International of Washington has a consensus price target of $57.25, indicating a potential downside of 3.05%. Given Expeditors International of Washington’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Expeditors International of Washington is more favorable than Forward Air Corporation.

Dividends

Forward Air Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.1%. Expeditors International of Washington pays an annual dividend of $0.84 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.4%. Forward Air Corporation pays out 63.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Expeditors International of Washington pays out 35.7% 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. Forward Air Corporation has raised its dividend for 22 consecutive years. Expeditors International of Washington is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Summary

Expeditors International of Washington beats Forward Air Corporation on 11 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Forward Air Corporation Company Profile

Forward Air Corporation is a freight and logistics company. The Company provides less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload, intermodal and pool distribution services across the United States and in Canada. The Company’s segments include Expedited LTL, Truckload Premium Services (TLS), Intermodal and Pool Distribution. Expedited LTL segment provides expedited regional, inter-regional and national LTL services. TLS segment is a provider of transportation management services, including, but not limited to, expedited truckload brokerage, fleet services, as well as security and temperature-controlled logistics services in the United States and Canada. Intermodal offers first- and last-mile transportation of freight both to and from seaports and railheads through fleet and third party transportation providers. Pool distribution involves managing high-frequency handling and distribution of time-sensitive product to numerous destinations in specific geographic regions.

Expeditors International of Washington Company Profile

Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. is a logistics company. The Company is a third-party logistics provider, and purchases cargo space from carriers, including airlines and ocean shipping lines on a volume basis and resells that space to its customers. The Company provides a range of customer solutions, such as order management, time-definite transportation, warehousing and distribution, temperature-controlled transit, cargo insurance and customized logistics solutions. In addition, the Company’s Project Cargo unit handles special project shipments that move through a single method or combination of air, ocean, and/or ground transportation. The Company’s services include airfreight services, ocean freight and ocean services, and customs brokerage and other services. The Company operates along five geographic areas: the Americas; North Asia; South Asia; Europe, and the Middle East, Africa and India.

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