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J.B. Hunt Transport Services ( JBHT) is one of the nation's largest long-haul trucking firms. It operates four segments: intermodal delivery, which transports products between customers and railroad loading stations, which makes up 55% of revenue; contract services, which provides contract customer's fleet needs, at 24%; truck-load hauling, at 14%; and brokerage and logistics, at 7%.

Standard & Poor's analyst Kevin Kirkeby wrote in a recent research note that the company has wisely formed partnerships with railroads rather than competing with them, and its role is to prove "first mile" and "last mile" deliveries, while leaving the long-haul portion of shipping-container traffic to railroad companies.

S&P has a "buy" recommendation on its shares and gives the company a rating of four stars out of a possible five. It gives its shares a price target of $48. They are currently trading at $43.49.

S&P projects revenue growth of 13% this year, after an 18% rise in 2010.

"We think intermodal will continue to be (the company's) fastest-growing segment as it targets market share in key East Coast freight lanes," said S&P. "We believe the company will continue adding capacity, both tractors and containers, to its intermodal and dedicated operations during 2011."

For fiscal 2011, analysts estimate the company will earn $2.02. For fiscal 2012, analysts estimate earnings per share will grow 20% to $2.43.

The company's shares get 11 "buy" ratings, 11 "buy/holds," seven "holds" and one "weak/hold," according to an S&P synopsis of analysts' views.

J.B. Hunt's shares are up 7% this year and 23% over the past year, giving it a $5.2 billion market value.

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