Analyzing Knight-Swift Transportation (KNX) & Marten Transport (MRTN)

Knight-Swift Transportation (NYSE: KNX) and Marten Transport (NASDAQ:MRTN) are both transportation companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, risk, dividends, valuation, earnings, analyst recommendations and profitability.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Knight-Swift Transportation and Marten Transport’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Knight-Swift Transportation $4.03 billion 1.95 $149.26 million $0.90 48.98
Marten Transport $671.14 million 1.65 $33.46 million $0.61 33.28

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

Dividends

Knight-Swift Transportation pays an annual dividend of $0.06 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.1%. Marten Transport pays an annual dividend of $0.10 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. Knight-Swift Transportation pays out 6.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Marten Transport pays out 16.4% 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. Marten Transport has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years. Marten Transport is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

78.2% of Knight-Swift Transportation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 68.4% of Marten Transport shares are held by institutional investors. 44.9% of Knight-Swift Transportation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 23.0% of Marten Transport shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Knight-Swift Transportation and Marten Transport’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Knight-Swift Transportation 2.44% 7.48% 3.31%
Marten Transport 4.87% 7.45% 5.04%

Risk & Volatility

Knight-Swift Transportation has a beta of 2.03, meaning that its share price is 103% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Marten Transport has a beta of 1.34, meaning that its share price is 34% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent recommendations for Knight-Swift Transportation and Marten Transport, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Knight-Swift Transportation 1 4 12 0 2.65
Marten Transport 0 1 0 0 2.00

Knight-Swift Transportation presently has a consensus target price of $41.07, suggesting a potential downside of 6.95%. Marten Transport has a consensus target price of $15.00, suggesting a potential downside of 26.11%. Given Knight-Swift Transportation’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe Knight-Swift Transportation is more favorable than Marten Transport.

Summary

Knight-Swift Transportation beats Marten Transport on 13 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Knight-Swift Transportation

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.

About Marten Transport

Marten Transport, Ltd. is a temperature-sensitive truckload carrier. The Company focuses on transporting and distributing food and other consumer-packaged goods that require a temperature-controlled or insulated environment. The Company operates through four segments: Truckload, Dedicated, Intermodal and Brokerage. It operates throughout the United States and in parts of Canada and Mexico. The Company’s medium-to-long-haul traffic lanes are between the Midwest and the West Coast, Southwest, Southeast, and the East Coast, as well as from California to the Pacific Northwest. It provides regional truckload carrier services in the Southeast, West Coast, Midwest, South Central and Northeast regions. It also offers loading and unloading activities, equipment detention and other ancillary services. The Company’s Truckload segment provides a combination of regional short-haul and medium-to-long-haul full-load transportation services.

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