Knight-Swift Transportation (NYSE: KNX) and Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ:ODFL) are both mid-cap transportation companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, profitability, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, dividends, valuation and earnings.

Profitability

This table compares Knight-Swift Transportation and Old Dominion Freight Line’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%
Old Dominion Freight Line 10.43% 17.09% 11.93%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for Knight-Swift Transportation and Old Dominion Freight Line, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Knight-Swift Transportation 1 4 12 0 2.65
Old Dominion Freight Line 2 5 5 0 2.25

Knight-Swift Transportation presently has a consensus target price of $41.13, suggesting a potential downside of 5.61%. Old Dominion Freight Line has a consensus target price of $111.58, suggesting a potential downside of 13.79%. Given Knight-Swift Transportation’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Knight-Swift Transportation is more favorable than Old Dominion Freight Line.

Dividends

Knight-Swift Transportation pays an annual dividend of $0.06 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.1%. Old Dominion Freight Line pays an annual dividend of $0.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.3%. Knight-Swift Transportation pays out 6.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Old Dominion Freight Line pays out 9.9% 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. Knight-Swift Transportation has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Knight-Swift Transportation and Old Dominion Freight Line’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Knight-Swift Transportation $4.03 billion 1.92 $149.26 million $0.90 48.36
Old Dominion Freight Line $2.99 billion 3.56 $295.76 million $4.06 31.88

Old Dominion Freight Line has lower revenue, but higher earnings than Knight-Swift Transportation. Old Dominion Freight Line 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.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

78.4% of Knight-Swift Transportation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 72.5% of Old Dominion Freight Line shares are held by institutional investors. 9.9% of Knight-Swift Transportation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 12.0% of Old Dominion Freight Line shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Risk & Volatility

Knight-Swift Transportation has a beta of 2.03, suggesting that its stock price is 103% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Old Dominion Freight Line has a beta of 1.2, suggesting that its stock price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Knight-Swift Transportation beats Old Dominion Freight Line on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Knight-Swift 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.

Old Dominion Freight Line Company Profile

Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. is a union-free motor carrier providing regional, inter-regional and national less-than-truckload (LTL) services. The Company’s LTL services include ground and air expedited transportation for time-sensitive shipments, consumer household pickup and delivery and freight delivery services throughout North America. In addition to its LTL services, the Company offers a range of other value-added services that include container drayage, truckload brokerage, supply chain consulting and warehousing. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated 226 service center locations, of which it owned 182 and leased 44. As of December 31, 2016, its network included 10 breakbulk facilities located in Rialto, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Greensboro, North Carolina; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Memphis and Morristown, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas, and Salt Lake City, Utah. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned 7,994 tractors.

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