Marten Transport (NASDAQ: MRTN) and Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ:WERN) are both transportation companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their profitabiliy, valuation, analyst recommendations, dividends, risk, institutional ownership and earnings.

Profitability

This table compares Marten Transport and Werner Enterprises’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Marten Transport 4.91% 7.74% 5.17%
Werner Enterprises 3.70% 7.61% 4.29%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Marten Transport and Werner Enterprises, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Marten Transport 0 3 0 0 2.00
Werner Enterprises 2 7 1 0 1.90

Marten Transport currently has a consensus target price of $14.10, indicating a potential downside of 14.02%. Werner Enterprises has a consensus target price of $26.00, indicating a potential downside of 11.71%. Given Werner Enterprises’ higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Werner Enterprises is more favorable than Marten Transport.

Dividends

Marten Transport pays an annual dividend of $0.06 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.4%. Werner Enterprises pays an annual dividend of $0.28 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.0%. Marten Transport pays out 9.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Werner Enterprises pays out 27.2% 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.

Volatility & Risk

Marten Transport has a beta of 1.28, meaning that its stock price is 28% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Werner Enterprises has a beta of 0.88, meaning that its stock price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Marten Transport and Werner Enterprises’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Marten Transport $682.37 million 0.79 $130.73 million $0.61 26.80
Werner Enterprises $2.03 billion 1.05 $317.40 million $1.03 28.59

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

Insider & Institutional Ownership

68.6% of Marten Transport shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 66.4% of Werner Enterprises shares are owned by institutional investors. 23.0% of Marten Transport shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 34.8% of Werner Enterprises shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Werner Enterprises beats Marten Transport on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

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.

About Werner Enterprises

Werner Enterprises, Inc. is a transportation and logistics company. The Company is engaged in transporting truckload shipments of general commodities in both interstate and intrastate commerce. It operates through two segments: Truckload and Werner Logistics. It provides logistics services through its Werner Logistics division. As of December 31, 2016, it had a fleet of approximately 7,100 trucks, of which 6,305 were company-operated and 795 were owned and operated by independent contractors. Its Werner Logistics division operated 74 intermodal drayage trucks as of December 31, 2016. Its Truckload segment comprises the One-Way Truckload and Specialized Services units. It operates in several provinces of Canada to provide through-trailer service into and out of Mexico. Its Werner Logistic segment is a non-asset-based transportation and logistics provider and comprises four operating units: truck brokerage, freight management, the intermodal and Werner Global Logistics international.

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