Declining Stock and Solid Fundamentals: Is The Market Wrong About J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:JBHT)?

With its stock down 8.8% over the past month, it is easy to disregard J.B. Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ:JBHT). However, a closer look at its sound financials might cause you to think again. Given that fundamentals usually drive long-term market outcomes, the company is worth looking at. Specifically, we decided to study J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ ROE in this article.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company’s shareholders.

Check out our latest analysis for J.B. Hunt Transport Services

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders’ Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for J.B. Hunt Transport Services is:

20% = US$490m ÷ US$2.4b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2020).

The ‘return’ is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.20 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or “retains” for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don’t have the same features.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ Earnings Growth And 20% ROE

To begin with, J.B. Hunt Transport Services seems to have a respectable ROE. On comparing with the average industry ROE of 12% the company’s ROE looks pretty remarkable. This certainly adds some context to J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ decent 5.3% net income growth seen over the past five years.

As a next step, we compared J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ net income growth with the industry and were disappointed to see that the company’s growth is lower than the industry average growth of 11% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
NasdaqGS:JBHT Past Earnings Growth September 28th 2020

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is J.B. Hunt Transport Services fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is J.B. Hunt Transport Services Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

J.B. Hunt Transport Services has a low three-year median payout ratio of 22%, meaning that the company retains the remaining 78% of its profits. This suggests that the management is reinvesting most of the profits to grow the business.

Moreover, J.B. Hunt Transport Services is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Existing analyst estimates suggest that the company’s future payout ratio is expected to drop to 17% over the next three years. Regardless, the ROE is not expected to change much for the company despite the lower expected payout ratio.

Summary

In total, we are pretty happy with J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ performance. Specifically, we like that the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits at a high rate of return. This of course has caused the company to see a good amount of growth in its earnings. Having said that, looking at the current analyst estimates, we found that the company’s earnings are expected to gain momentum. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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