P.A.M. Transportation Services (NASDAQ: PTSI) and Marten Transport (NASDAQ:MRTN) are both small-cap transportation companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, dividends, profitability, earnings and risk.

Profitability

This table compares P.A.M. Transportation Services and Marten Transport’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
P.A.M. Transportation Services 1.85% 8.52% 2.16%
Marten Transport 4.96% 7.72% 5.18%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for P.A.M. Transportation Services and Marten Transport, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
P.A.M. Transportation Services 0 1 0 0 2.00
Marten Transport 0 2 0 0 2.00

P.A.M. Transportation Services currently has a consensus target price of $17.00, suggesting a potential downside of 1.51%. Marten Transport has a consensus target price of $15.00, suggesting a potential downside of 5.36%. Given P.A.M. Transportation Services’ higher possible upside, equities analysts clearly believe P.A.M. Transportation Services 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%. P.A.M. Transportation Services does not pay a dividend. Marten Transport pays out 9.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

28.2% of P.A.M. Transportation Services shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 41.5% of Marten Transport shares are owned by institutional investors. 62.0% of P.A.M. Transportation Services shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 23.0% of Marten Transport shares are owned by company 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

P.A.M. Transportation Services has a beta of 1.01, indicating that its share price is 1% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Marten Transport has a beta of 1.27, indicating that its share price is 27% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares P.A.M. Transportation Services and Marten Transport’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
P.A.M. Transportation Services $435.80 million 0.25 $52.41 million $1.25 13.81
Marten Transport $687.80 million 1.26 $133.29 million $0.63 25.32

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

Summary

Marten Transport beats P.A.M. Transportation Services on 9 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

P.A.M. Transportation Services Company Profile

P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, operates as a truckload transportation and logistics company. It operates in the motor carrier segment. It operates as a truckload dry van carrier transporting general commodities throughout the continental United States, as well as in certain Canadian provinces. It provides transportation services in Mexico under agreements with Mexican carriers. Its operations are classified into truckload services, or brokerage and logistics services. Truckload services include transportation services, in which it utilizes company owned trucks or independent operator owned trucks for the pickup and delivery of freight. The brokerage and logistics services consist of services, such as transportation scheduling, routing, mode selection, transloading and other services related to the transportation of freight, which may or may not involve the use of company owned or independent operator owned equipment.

Marten Transport Company Profile

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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