Quest Resource (NASDAQ: QRHC) and CAI International (NYSE:CAI) are both small-cap business services companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, earnings, risk, dividends, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership and valuation.

Profitability

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This table compares Quest Resource and CAI International’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Quest Resource -4.21% -9.10% -6.16%
CAI International 20.68% 11.21% 2.51%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Quest Resource and CAI International’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Quest Resource $138.35 million 0.21 -$5.82 million ($0.38) -4.97
CAI International $348.39 million 1.27 $72.06 million $2.87 7.55

CAI International has higher revenue and earnings than Quest Resource. Quest Resource is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than CAI International, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

12.1% of Quest Resource shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 74.5% of CAI International shares are held by institutional investors. 50.2% of Quest Resource shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 24.5% of CAI International shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Volatility and Risk

Quest Resource has a beta of 2.79, suggesting that its share price is 179% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, CAI International has a beta of 2.22, suggesting that its share price is 122% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Quest Resource and CAI International, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Quest Resource 0 0 1 0 3.00
CAI International 0 1 4 0 2.80

Quest Resource presently has a consensus target price of $5.00, suggesting a potential upside of 164.55%. CAI International has a consensus target price of $35.25, suggesting a potential upside of 62.74%. Given Quest Resource’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe Quest Resource is more favorable than CAI International.

Summary

CAI International beats Quest Resource on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Quest Resource

Quest Resource Holding Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides management programs to reuse, recycle, and dispose various waste streams and recyclables in the United States. The company offers recycling and waste management services for motor oil, oil filters, scrap tires, grease and cooking oil, food waste, and expired food products; and various other materials, such as glass, cardboard, paper, and metal, as well as hazardous materials, plastics, construction debris, batteries, mercury, lights, regulated waste, electronic devices, and industrial cleaning products. It also provides landfill diversion services. In addition, the company operates Earth911.com, a Website that offers data, information, and articles in engaging, educating, and entertaining consumers regarding the environment, recycling, and sustainability. Further, it provides sustainability programs, including strategic planning, writing policies and procedures, LEED and green globe certification, life cycle assessment, energy modeling, building commissioning, and carbon emission reduction reporting. Quest Resource Holding Corporation serves big box, food chain, and other retailers; automotive and fleet providers; construction and demolition projects; and commercial, industrial, residential, and educational properties through direct sales force and strategic partnerships. The company was formerly known as Infinity Resources Holdings Corp. and changed its name to Quest Resource Holding Corporation in October 2013. Quest Resource Holding Corporation is based in The Colony, Texas.

About CAI International

CAI International, Inc. operates as transportation finance and logistics company in the United States and internationally. The company operates through three segments: Container Leasing, Rail Leasing, and Logistics. It leases, re-leases, and disposes equipment; and contracts for the repair, repositioning, and storage of equipment. The company leases its container equipment to lessees under long-term, short-term, and finance leases. It also sells containers; and provides container management services to third-party investors, as well as sells used containers. In addition, the company leases railcars consisting of box cars for paper and forest products; covered hoppers for grain, cement, sand, plastic pallets, and other industrial products; general purpose tank cars that are used to transport food-grade, and other liquid and gaseous commodities; gondolas for coal and steel; and general service flat cars. Further, it offers domestic and international logistics services, including intermodal, truck brokerage, port drayage, warehousing, international ocean freight, and freight forwarding, as well as the arrangement and coordination of international air freight services and customs brokerage; international export and import services for full container loads, less than container loads, perishable cargo, project cargo, and airfreight; and transportation management services and technology solutions, including shipment optimization, load consolidation, mode selection, carrier management, load planning and execution, and Web-based shipment visibility. As of December 31, 2017, the company had a container fleet comprised 1,282,739 cost equivalent units; and an owned fleet of 7,172 railcars in North America. The company was formerly known as Container Applications International, Inc. and changed its name to CAI International, Inc. in February 2007. CAI International, Inc. was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

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