Zacks Investment Research cut shares of J B Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ:JBHT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Shares of J.B. Hunt have outperformed its industry over the last month. We are impressed by volumes growth at the company's primary division — intermodal. Its efforts to reward shareholders through dividend payments and buybacks are encouraging as well. Moreover, the new tax law (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act), which reduces corporate tax rate significantly, is an added positive. This, in turn, might have contributed to the 4.3% dividend hike announced by the company in January. In fact, in 2018, effective tax rate is projected to come down to approximately 25% from 37.9% in 2017. However, J.B. Hunt’s high operating expenses and escalated debt levels pose a threat to bottom-line growth. The company's capex forecast for 2018 is $630 million. This is substantially higher than the 2017 figure of $511 million.”
A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on the stock. BidaskClub upgraded shares of J B Hunt Transport Services from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Saturday, December 9th. Bank of America reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $128.00 price target (up from $117.00) on shares of J B Hunt Transport Services in a research note on Thursday, December 28th. Stephens reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $140.00 price target on shares of J B Hunt Transport Services in a research note on Friday, January 19th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a neutral rating and set a $121.00 price target on shares of J B Hunt Transport Services in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed an outperform rating and set a $129.00 price target (up from $111.00) on shares of J B Hunt Transport Services in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Ten analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $118.89.
J B Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ:JBHT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 18th. The transportation company reported $3.48 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $2.45. The company had revenue of $1.99 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.93 billion. J B Hunt Transport Services had a net margin of 9.55% and a return on equity of 27.32%. J B Hunt Transport Services’s quarterly revenue was up 15.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.05 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that J B Hunt Transport Services will post 5.27 earnings per share for the current year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, February 23rd. Investors of record on Friday, February 9th were paid a $0.24 dividend. This represents a $0.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.79%. This is a boost from J B Hunt Transport Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.23. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, February 8th. J B Hunt Transport Services’s dividend payout ratio is presently 15.51%.
In related news, Director Earl Wayne Garrison sold 21,344 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $125.79, for a total value of $2,684,861.76. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Johnnie B. Hunt, Jr. sold 2,328 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $121.00, for a total transaction of $281,688.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 70,697 shares in the company, valued at $8,554,337. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 4.30% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of J B Hunt Transport Services by 61.6% during the 4th quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 817,711 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $94,020,000 after purchasing an additional 311,590 shares during the last quarter. AGF Investments Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of J B Hunt Transport Services during the 4th quarter worth about $30,935,000. First Trust Advisors LP boosted its stake in shares of J B Hunt Transport Services by 278.3% during the 4th quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 364,590 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $41,921,000 after purchasing an additional 268,216 shares during the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of J B Hunt Transport Services by 118.4% during the 4th quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 486,595 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $55,949,000 after purchasing an additional 263,823 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in shares of J B Hunt Transport Services by 8.8% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 2,888,361 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $320,840,000 after purchasing an additional 233,071 shares during the last quarter. 72.19% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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About J B Hunt Transport Services
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc is a surface transportation, delivery, and logistics company in North America. The Company segments include Intermodal (JBI), Dedicated Contract Services (DCS), Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS) and Truck (JBT). The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides transportation and delivery services to a range of customers and consumers throughout the continental United States, Canada and Mexico.
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