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

Risk & Volatility

J.B. Hunt Transport Services has a beta of 0.94, meaning that its share price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Saia has a beta of 0.78, meaning that its share price is 22% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

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

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
J.B. Hunt Transport Services 6.32% 30.00% 11.08%
Saia 3.92% 10.27% 5.80%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

72.7% of J.B. Hunt Transport Services shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 97.6% of Saia shares are held by institutional investors. 4.3% of J.B. Hunt Transport Services shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.5% of Saia shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Saia, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
J.B. Hunt Transport Services 0 7 8 0 2.53
Saia 0 2 4 0 2.67

J.B. Hunt Transport Services presently has a consensus target price of $98.27, indicating a potential upside of 7.32%. Saia has a consensus target price of $52.50, indicating a potential upside of 1.25%. Given J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe J.B. Hunt Transport Services is more favorable than Saia.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Saia’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
J.B. Hunt Transport Services $6.77 billion 1.49 $1.06 billion $3.82 23.97
Saia $1.25 billion 1.05 $158.10 million $1.90 27.29

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

Dividends

J.B. Hunt Transport Services pays an annual dividend of $0.92 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.0%. Saia does not pay a dividend. J.B. Hunt Transport Services pays out 24.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Saia has increased its dividend for 13 consecutive years.

Summary

J.B. Hunt Transport Services beats Saia on 12 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Company Profile

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.

Saia Company Profile

Saia, Inc. is a transportation company. The Company provides regional and interregional less-than-truckload (LTL) services. The Company also offers a range of other value-added services, including non-asset truckload, expedited and logistics services across the United States. The Company’s subsidiary Saia Motor Freight Line, LLC (Saia LTL Freight) is a LTL carrier. As of December 31, 2016, Saia LTL Freight had served 34 states in the South, Southwest, Midwest, Pacific Northwest and West. Saia LTL Freight specializes in offering its customers a range of regional and interregional LTL services, including time-definite and expedited options. As of December 31, 2016, Saia LTL Freight operated a network consisting of 151 owned and leased locations. The Company’s other subsidiaries include Saia TL Plus, LLC, Saia Logistics Services, LLC, Saia Sales, LLC, Saia Metrogo, LLC, LinkEx, Inc. and Saia Motor Freight Mexico, S. DE R.L. DE C.V.

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