Saia (NASDAQ: SAIA) and Knight Transportation (NYSE:KNX) are both transportation companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, institutional ownership, dividends, profitabiliy, analyst recommendations, risk and valuation.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Saia and Knight Transportation’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Saia $1.25 billion 1.08 $158.10 million $1.90 28.21
Knight Transportation $1.12 billion 2.67 $246.59 million $1.05 35.48

Knight Transportation has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Saia. Saia is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Knight Transportation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Saia and Knight Transportation, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Saia 0 2 4 0 2.67
Knight Transportation 1 5 8 0 2.50

Saia presently has a consensus price target of $52.50, indicating a potential downside of 2.05%. Knight Transportation has a consensus price target of $36.43, indicating a potential downside of 2.21%. Given Saia’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe Saia is more favorable than Knight Transportation.

Dividends

Knight Transportation pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.6%. Saia does not pay a dividend. Knight Transportation pays out 22.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Saia has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares Saia and Knight Transportation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Saia 3.92% 10.27% 5.80%
Knight Transportation 7.61% 11.16% 8.01%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

97.6% of Saia shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 88.4% of Knight Transportation shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.5% of Saia shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 9.9% of Knight Transportation shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Volatility and Risk

Saia has a beta of 0.78, meaning that its stock price is 22% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Knight Transportation has a beta of 0.87, meaning that its stock price is 13% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Knight Transportation beats Saia on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

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.

Knight Transportation Company Profile

Knight Transportation, Inc. is a provider of multiple truckload transportation and logistics services, which involve the movement of trailer or container loads of freight from origin to destination for a single customer. The Company operates through two segments: Trucking and Logistics. Its Trucking segment consists of three operating units: dry van truckload, temperature-controlled truckload and drayage services. The Trucking segment provides truckload transportation, including services of various products, goods and materials. Its Logistics segment consists of two operating units: freight brokerage services and rail intermodal. It provides logistics, freight management and other non-trucking services to its customers, through its Logistics segment. It provides a range of truckload and logistics services through its nationwide network of service centers, truckload tractor fleets and its contractual access to third-party capacity providers. It operates primarily in the United States.

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