J.B. Hunt Transport Services
The delivery and transportation company reported Thursday first-quarter earnings of $67.7 million, or 57 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $50 million, or 40 cents."Our impression is freight trends during the quarter were in line with seasonal patterns with steady gains each month, and some acceleration late in March," KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts wrote in a report Friday. "Despite generally lean inventories, we believe the environment is being characterized by replenishment more than restocking, resulting in seasonal demand. Benign weather favorably impacted rail service, with increased export demand helping network balance and reducing repositioning costs, while share gains in shorter haul Eastern lanes (volume +28% vs. +28% comp; transcontinental +9% vs. +10% comp) remain robust and provide further secular growth opportunity." Shares of J.B. Hunt hit a 52-week high on Friday of $56.73. The stock's 52-week low of $34.42 was set on Sept. 22. J.B. Hunt's forward P/E is 18.76; the average for trucking companies is 14.25. For comparison, Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL) has a lower forward P/E of 14.83. Fourteen of the 27 analysts who cover J.B. Hunt rated it buy; 13 analysts gave the stock a hold rating. TheStreet Ratings gives J.B. Hunt an A+ grade with a buy rating and $64.59 price target. The stock has risen 24.98% year to date.
Lorillard "Over the past several years, LO has delivered substantial shareholder returns, driven by industry-leading fundamentals, being a low-cost manufacturer, and a focus on returning cash to shareholders through share repurchases and a substantial and growing dividend," Davenport analysts wrote in a March 26 report. "Going forward, LO expects to continue to deliver double digit shareholder returns over time, defined as adjusted EPS growth plus dividend yield. In order to achieve this objective, LO is focused on executing a three prong strategy." Shares of Lorillard hit a 52-week high Friday of $138.65. The stock's 52-week low of $96.50 was set on June 8. Lorillard's forward P/E is 14.03; the average for tobacco companies is 12.27. Seven of the 13 analysts who cover Lorillard rated it hold. Five analysts gave the stock a buy rating and one rated it sell. TheStreet Ratings gives Lorillard a B grade with a buy rating and $179.10 price target. The stock has risen 21.44% year to date.
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