J. B. Hunt (JBHT) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of J. B. Hunt (NASDAQ:JBHT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $129.00 price target on the transportation company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “J.B. Hunt's volume growth at the primary division — intermodal is impressive. 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. The positivity revolving around the stock is evident from the Zacks Consensus Estimate for first quarter earnings being revised upward 13.5% in the last 60 days. Detailed results should be out on Apr 16. However, J.B. Hunt’s high operating expenses and escalated debt levels pose a threat to bottom-line growth. In fact, shares of J.B. Hunt have underperformed its industry over the last three months.”

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Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Stephens restated a buy rating and set a $140.00 target price on shares of J. B. Hunt in a report on Friday, January 19th. Loop Capital restated a buy rating and set a $145.00 target price on shares of J. B. Hunt in a report on Friday, January 19th. KeyCorp restated a buy rating and set a $125.00 target price on shares of J. B. Hunt in a report on Friday, December 29th. Bank of America restated a buy rating and set a $128.00 target price (up from $117.00) on shares of J. B. Hunt in a report on Thursday, December 28th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of J. B. Hunt from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Saturday, December 9th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $121.95.

Shares of NASDAQ JBHT traded down $3.00 during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $110.80. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 355,564 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,001,620. The company has a market capitalization of $12,663.47, a PE ratio of 30.22, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.73 and a beta of 0.93. J. B. Hunt has a fifty-two week low of $83.35 and a fifty-two week high of $126.49. The company has a quick ratio of 1.43, a current ratio of 1.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.59.

J. B. Hunt (NASDAQ:JBHT) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, January 18th. The transportation company reported $3.48 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $2.45. The business had revenue of $1.99 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.93 billion. J. B. Hunt had a net margin of 9.55% and a return on equity of 27.32%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 15.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.05 earnings per share. sell-side analysts expect that J. B. Hunt will post 5.27 EPS for the current year.

In other J. B. Hunt news, Director Earl Wayne Garrison sold 21,344 shares of J. B. Hunt stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $125.79, for a total transaction of $2,684,861.76. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Johnnie B. Hunt, Jr. sold 2,328 shares of J. B. Hunt stock in a transaction on Friday, March 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.00, for a total transaction of $281,688.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 70,697 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,554,337. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 4.20% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of J. B. Hunt by 32.7% in the fourth quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 29,119 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $3,348,000 after acquiring an additional 7,172 shares during the period. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp boosted its position in shares of J. B. Hunt by 13.1% in the fourth quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp now owns 38,285 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $4,402,000 after acquiring an additional 4,434 shares during the period. We Are One Seven LLC bought a new stake in shares of J. B. Hunt in the fourth quarter valued at about $413,000. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of J. B. Hunt in the fourth quarter valued at about $3,045,000. Finally, Soapstone Management L.P. bought a new stake in shares of J. B. Hunt in the fourth quarter valued at about $4,992,000. 72.18% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About J. B. Hunt

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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