Swift Transportation (NYSE: SWFT) and Ryder System (NYSE:R) are both mid-cap transportation companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, dividends, profitability, institutional ownership, risk, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Swift Transportation and Ryder System, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Swift Transportation 0 6 10 0 2.63
Ryder System 0 5 1 0 2.17

Swift Transportation presently has a consensus target price of $27.85, suggesting a potential upside of 4.88%. Ryder System has a consensus target price of $74.33, suggesting a potential upside of 2.81%. Given Swift Transportation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Swift Transportation is more favorable than Ryder System.

Profitability

This table compares Swift Transportation and Ryder System’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Swift Transportation 2.99% 22.23% 5.56%
Ryder System 3.17% 11.71% 2.21%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Swift Transportation and Ryder System’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Swift Transportation $4.01 billion 0.89 $480.95 million $0.90 29.50
Ryder System $6.99 billion 0.55 $1.82 billion $4.17 17.34

Ryder System has higher revenue and earnings than Swift Transportation. Ryder System is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Swift Transportation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

Swift Transportation has a beta of 1.96, indicating that its stock price is 96% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ryder System has a beta of 1.39, indicating that its stock price is 39% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Ryder System pays an annual dividend of $1.76 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. Swift Transportation does not pay a dividend. Ryder System pays out 42.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Swift Transportation has increased its dividend for 8 consecutive years.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

78.8% of Swift Transportation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 93.1% of Ryder System shares are owned by institutional investors. 44.9% of Swift Transportation shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 2.0% of Ryder System shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Swift Transportation beats Ryder System on 11 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Swift Transportation Company Profile

Swift Transportation Company is a multi-faceted transportation services company. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated fleets of truckload equipment in North America from over 40 terminals near key freight centers and traffic lanes. The Company’ segments include Truckload, Dedicated, Swift Refrigerated and Intermodal. The Company’s other segments include its logistics and freight brokerage services, as well as support services that its subsidiaries provide to customers and owner-operators, including repair and maintenance shop services, equipment leasing, and insurance. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s fleet consisted of 13,937 company tractors and 4,429 owner-operator tractors, as well as 64,066 trailers, and 9,131 intermodal containers. Its suite of service offerings include line-haul services, dedicated customer contracts, temperature-controlled units, intermodal freight solutions, flatbed hauling, freight brokerage and logistics.

Ryder System Company Profile

Ryder System, Inc. is engaged in offering transportation and supply chain management solutions. The Company operates through three segments: Fleet Management Solutions (FMS), which provides leasing, commercial rental, contract maintenance, and contract-related maintenance of trucks, tractors and trailers to customers principally in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom; Dedicated Transportation Solutions (DTS), which provides vehicles and drivers as part of a dedicated transportation solution in the United States, and Supply Chain Solutions (SCS), which provides supply chain solutions, including distribution and transportation services in North America and Asia. Through its FMS business, the Company provides its customers with various fleet solutions. In addition, it provides its customers to purchase a selection of used trucks, tractors and trailers through its used vehicle sales program. Its customer base includes enterprises operating in various industries.

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