Financial Survey: Saia (SAIA) & Covenant Transportation Group (CVTI)

Saia (NASDAQ: SAIA) and Covenant Transportation Group (NASDAQ:CVTI) are both transportation companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, institutional ownership, risk, dividends, earnings, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Recommendations

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This is a summary of recent recommendations for Saia and Covenant Transportation Group, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Saia 1 3 3 0 2.29
Covenant Transportation Group 0 2 2 0 2.50

Saia presently has a consensus price target of $71.80, indicating a potential downside of 3.82%. Covenant Transportation Group has a consensus price target of $32.25, indicating a potential upside of 8.04%. Given Covenant Transportation Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Covenant Transportation Group is more favorable than Saia.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

99.7% of Saia shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 63.1% of Covenant Transportation Group shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.5% of Saia shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 35.2% of Covenant Transportation Group shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk & Volatility

Saia has a beta of 0.8, suggesting that its stock price is 20% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Covenant Transportation Group has a beta of 1.53, suggesting that its stock price is 53% more volatile than the S&P 500.


This table compares Saia and Covenant Transportation Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Saia 6.61% 10.80% 6.06%
Covenant Transportation Group 7.94% 6.26% 2.51%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Saia and Covenant Transportation Group’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Saia $1.38 billion 1.39 $91.15 million $2.19 34.09
Covenant Transportation Group $705.01 million 0.78 $55.43 million $0.84 35.54

Saia has higher revenue and earnings than Covenant Transportation Group. Saia is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Covenant Transportation Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


Saia beats Covenant Transportation Group on 8 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Saia

Saia, Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, operates as a transportation company in North America. The company provides regional and interregional less-than-truckload services for shipments between 100 and 10,000 pounds; truckload services; and other value-added services, including non-asset truckload, expedited, and logistics services. As of December 31, 2017, it operated a network of 157 owned and leased facilities; and owned approximately 4,259 tractors and 13,901 trailers. The company was formerly known as SCS Transportation, Inc. and changed its name to Saia, Inc. in July 2006. Saia, Inc. was founded in 1924 and is headquartered in Johns Creek, Georgia.

About Covenant Transportation Group

Covenant Transportation Group, Inc. is a provider of expedited long haul freight transportation, primarily using two-person driver teams in transcontinental lanes. The Company’s services also include refrigerated, dedicated, cross-border, regional and brokerage. The Company’s segments include Truckload and Other. The Truckload segment includes the operations of Covenant Transport, Inc. (Covenant Transport), its flagship operation, which provides expedited long haul, dedicated, temperature-controlled and regional solo-driver service; Southern Refrigerated Transport, Inc. (SRT), which provides primarily long haul, regional, dedicated and intermodal temperature-controlled service, and Star Transportation, Inc. (Star), which provides regional solo-driver and dedicated services, primarily in the southeastern United States. The Company provides truckload transportation services throughout the continental United States, into and out of Mexico, and into and out of portions of Canada.

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