Once upon a time, investors knew to sell a big rally in airline stocks. Is this time different for Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Continental Holdings (UAL) and their ilk?
Some analysts think it might be. JPMorgan said that only an unforeseen event can end the rally. Deutsche Bank, meanwhile, noted that airlines could be on their way to becoming an inevitable sector.
Now Stifel’s Joseph DeNardi is jumping on the bullish bandwagon. In a report titled “Cleared for Takeoff,” Denardi imitated coverage of the airline industry, including Delta Air Lines and United Continental Holdings, and with a title like that you know he’s feeling good about where the airline stocks are heading. He writes:
While we suspect some investors may be cautious following the strong performance of airline stocks over the past 12–24 months, we believe there is significant runway remaining. It is important to note that despite the major consolidations that have been announced over the past five years, only one merger – Delta-Northwest – has been fully implemented, while remaining combinations – Southwest (LUV)-AirTran, United-Continental, and U.S. Airways-American Airlines (AAL) – are in various stages of achieving synergies. We expect the primary benefits of consolidation to be: (1) a more favorable pricing environment, (2) reduced risk of irrational pricing, and (3) an improved ability to use ancillary revenues to affect passenger fares and further mitigate fuel cost risk.
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Aurizon Holdings Ltd (QRNNF)
Aurizon Holdings Limited, formerly QR National Limited, is a rail freight operator. It owns and operates a coal network made up of 2,670 kilometers of heavy haul rail infrastructure. It provides specialist services in rail design, engineering, construction, management and maintenance, and offers supply chain solutions to a range of customers in Australia. Its business comprises three product lines. Coal business includes transport of coal from mines in Queensland and New South Wales to end customers and ports. Freight business includes transport of bulk mineral commodities, including iron ore, agricultural products, mining and industrial inputs and general freight throughout Queensland and Western Australia. Network Services business provides access to, and operation and management of the Central Queensland Coal Network. In January 2014 the Company announced that National Australia Bank Limited and its associated entities has ceased to be the substantial holder of the Company . Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By MARKETWATCH]
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Australia stocks enjoyed early Monday gains after an advance for commodities and U.S. stocks since the last session, with a relatively good reception for earnings. The S&P/ASX 200 (AU:XJO) improved by 0.4% to 5,376.30, with miners tracking gains in gold and copper. Rio Tinto Ltd. (AU:RIO) (RIO) added 1.3%, and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (AU:FMG) (FSUMF) traded 1.1% higher, while gold miners Newcrest Mining Ltd. (AU:NCM) (NCMGF) and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. (AU:KCN) (KSKGF) rallied 2.2% and 4.7%, respectively. Banks rose after Wall Street shares climbed on Friday, with National Australia Bank Ltd. (AU:NAB) (NAUBF) up 1% and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (AU:ANZ) (ANEWF) adding 0.9%, though Commonwealth Bank of Australia (AU:CBA) (CBAUF) dropped 2.4% as it traded without rights to its latest dividend. Coal transport firm Aurizon Holdings Ltd. (AU:AZJ) (QRNNF) tacked on 2.1% as its fiscal first-half underlying profit increased 18%, though net profit f
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Hub Group Inc (HUBG)
Hub Group, Inc., incorporated on March 8, 1995, is an asset-light freight transportation management companies. The Company offers intermodal, truck brokerage and logistics services. The Company operates distinct business segments: Mode, which includes the acquired Mode business acquired by the Company on April 1, 2011, and Hub, which is all business other than Mode. Both segments offer intermodal, truck brokerage and logistics services. Hub operates through a network of operating centers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Hub services a diversified customer base in a broad range of industries, including consumer products, retail and durable goods. Mode markets and operates its freight transportation services primarily through its network of independent business owners (IBOs) who enter into contracts with Mode. Mode’s company managed operation includes a business arranging for the transportation of raw materials and finished products for a food producer and, t o a lesser extent, other highway brokerage, intermodal and logistics operations.
As an intermodal marketing company (IMC), the Company arranges for the movement of its customers freight in containers and trailers, typically over long distances of 750 miles or more. The Company contracts with railroads to provide transportation for the long-haul portions of the shipment and with local trucking companies, known as drayage companies, for pickup and delivery. As part of the Company’s intermodal services, the Company negotiates rail and drayage rates, electronically tracks shipments in transit, consolidate billing and handle claims for freight loss or damage on behalf of its customers.
The Company uses its network to access containers and trailers owned by leasing companies, railroads and steamship lines. The Company is able to track trailers and containers entering a service area and reuses that equipment to fulfill the customer s’ outbound shipping requirements. As of December 31, 2012, ! Hub had access to approximately 9,111 rail-owned containers for the Company’s dedicated use on the Union Pacific (UP) and the Norfolk Southern (NS) rails. In addition to these rail-owned containers, as of December 31, 2012, the Company had a total of 14,756 53-inch private containers for use on the UP and NS. The Company financed 6,167 of these containers with operating leases and the Company owns 8,589 containers.
As of December 31, 2012, approximately 66% of the Company’s drayage needs were met by its subsidiary, Comtrak Logistics, Inc. (Comtrak), which assists its customers. Comtrak has terminals in Atlanta, Birmingham, Charleston, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dallas, Harrisburg, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Memphis, Nashville, Newark, Los Angeles, Perry (FL), Philadelphia, Savannah, Seattle, St. Louis, Stockton, and Titusville (FL). As of December 31, 2012, Comtrak owned 260 tractors, leased or owned 448 trailers, employed 296 drivers and contracted with 2,178 owner-operators.
Truck Brokerage (Highway Services)
The Company is a truck broker in the United States. As part of the truck brokerage services, the Company negotiates rates , track shipments in transit and handle claims for freights loss and damage on behalf of its customers.
Logistics and Other Services
Hub’s logistics business operates under the name of Unyson Logistics. Unyson Logistics consists of a network of logistics professionals dedicated to developing, implementing and operating customized logistics solutions. Unyson offers a range of transportation management services and technology solutions, including shipment optimization, load consolidation, mode selection, carrier management, load planning and execution and Web-based shipment visibility. Unyson Logistics operates throughout North America, providing operations through its main operating loca tion in St. Louis with additional support locations in Bosto! n, Chicag! o, Cleveland and Minneapolis. Certain Mode agents provide logistics services. The Company’s multi-modal transportation capabilities through both the Hub and Mode segments include small parcel, heavyweight, expedited, less-than-truckload, truckload, intermodal and railcar.
- [By Lisa Levin]
Hub Group (NASDAQ: HUBG) surged 3.13% to $44.20. The volume of Hub Group shares traded was 388% higher than normal. Hub Group reported its Q1 earnings of $0.33 per share on revenue of $848.40 million. Longbow Research upgraded Hub Group from Neutral to Buy.
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Vitran Corporation Inc (VTNC)
Vitran Corporation Inc. (Vitran), incorporated on April 29, 1981, is a provider of freight surface transportation and related supply chain services throughout Canada 34 states in the eastern, southeastern, central, southwestern, and western United States. The Company’s business consists of Less-than-truckload services (LTL). These services are provided by stand-alone business units within their respective regions. Vitran’s business is carried on through its subsidiaries, which hold the licenses and permits required to carry on business. As of December 31, 2012, Vitran’s principal wholly owned operating subsidiaries included Vitran Express Canada Inc. (Ontario), Can-Am Logistics Inc. (Ontario), Vitran Logistics Ltd. (Ontario), Expediteur T.W. Ltee (Canada), Vitran Corporation (Nevada), Vitran Express Inc. (Pennsylvania), Vitran Logistics Corp. (Delaware), Vitran Logistics Inc. (Indiana), and Las Vegas/L.A. Express, Inc. (California). In March 2013, Vitran Corp Inc com pleted divestiture of its Supply Chain Operation division to Legacy Supply Chain. In October 2013, Vitran Corporation Inc. completed the sale of its United States LTL business.
Within Canada, the Company provides next-day service within Ontario, Quebec and parts of western Canada, and generates its revenue from the movement of LTL freight within the three- to five-day east-west service lanes. The majority of its trans-Canada freight is shipped intermodally, whereby the Company’s containers are loaded onto rail cars and trans-loaded to Vitran facilities where Vitran’s network of owner operators pick up and deliver the freight to various destinations. During 2012, Vitran’s Canadian LTL business represented approximately 27.6% of total LTL revenues. Vitran’s Transborder Service Solution (inter-regional) provides over-the-road service between its Canadian LTL and United States LTL business units.
- [By Monica Gerson]
Vitran Corporation (NASDAQ: VTNC) announced today that it has entered into a definitive arrangement agreement with TransForce pursuant to which TransForce has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Vitran not already owned by TransForce for US$6.50 in cash per share, in accordance with TransForce’s prior proposal. To read the full news, click here. ReneSola (NYSE: SOL) today announced it signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) to sell three utility-scale projects in Western China, with a total capacity of 60MW, to Jiangsu Akcome Solar Science & Technology Co on December 30, 2013. To read the full news, click here. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: CTB) today announced it has terminated the merger agreement with Apollo Tyres (NSE:ApolloTYRE). To read the full news, click here. RedHill Biopharma (NASDAQ: RDHL) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with leading healthcare investor OrbiMed Israel Partners Limited Partnership, an affiliate of OrbiMed Advisors LLC, for the sale of RedHill’s American Depository Shares and warrants in a private placement transactionor a total sum of $6.0 million. To read the full news, click here.
Posted-In: Guggenheim US Stock FuturesNews Eurozone Futures Global Pre-Market Outlook Markets
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Con-way Inc (CNW)
Con-way Inc. (Con-way), incorporated in 1958, provides transportation, logistics and supply-chain management services for a wide range of manufacturing, industrial and retail customers. Con-way’s business units operate in regional and transcontinental less-than-truckload and full-truckload freight transportation, contract logistics and supply-chain management, multimodal freight brokerage, and trailer manufacturing. Con-way is divided into four segments: Freight, Logistics, Truckload, and Other. At December 31, 2011, Con-way Freight operated 286 freight service centers, of which 144 were owned and 142 were leased. At December 31, 2011, Con-way Freight owned and operated approximately 9,200 tractors and 26,400 trailers, including tractors held under capital lease agreements.
The Freight segment consists of the operating results of the Con-way Freight business unit. Con-way Freight is a less-than-truckload (LTL) motor carrier that utilize s a network of freight service centers to provide day-definite regional, inter-regional and transcontinental less-than-truckload freight services throughout North America. LTL carriers transport shipments from multiple shippers utilizing a network of freight service centers combined with a fleet of line-haul and pickup-and-delivery tractors and trailers. Freight is picked up from customers and consolidated for shipment at the originating service center. Freight is consolidated for transportation to the destination service centers or freight assembly centers. At Freight assembly centers, freight from various service centers can be reconsolidated for transportation to other freight assembly centers or destination service centers. From the destination service center, the freight is delivered to the customer. Typically, LTL shipments weigh between 100 and 15,000 pounds. In 2011, Con-way Freight’s average weight per shipment was 1,305 pounds.
The Logistics segment consists of the operating results o! f the Menlo Worldwide Logistics business unit. Menlo Worldwide Logistics develops contract-logistics solutions, which can include managing complex distribution networks, and providing supply-chain engineering and consulting, and multimodal freight brokerage services. Menlo Worldwide Logistics’ supply-chain management offerings are primarily related to transportation-management and contract-warehousing services. Transportation management refers to the management of asset-based carriers and third-party transportation providers for customers’ inbound and outbound supply-chain needs through the use of logistics management systems to consolidate, book and track shipments. Contract warehousing refers to the optimization and operation of warehouses for customers using technology and warehouse-management systems to reduce inventory carrying costs and supply-chain cycle times. For several customers, contract-warehousing operations include light assembly or kitting operations.
Menlo Worldwide Logistics provides its services using a customer- or project-based approach when the supply-chain solution requires customer-specific transportation management, single-client warehouses, and/or single-customer technological solutions. However, Menlo Worldwide Logistics also utilizes a shared-resource, process-based approach that leverages a centralized transportation-management group, multi-client warehouses and technology to provide scalable solutions to multiple customers. Additionally, Menlo Worldwide Logistics segments its business based on customer type. At December 31, 2011, Menlo Worldwide Logistics operated 76 warehouses in North America, of which 55 were leased by Menlo Worldwide Logistics and 21 were leased or owned by clients of Menlo Worldwide Logistics. Outside of North America, Menlo Worldwide Logistics operated an additional 63 warehouses, of which 48 were leased by Menlo Worldwide Logistics and 15 were leased or owned by clients. Men lo Worldwide Logistics owns and operates a small fleet of tr! actors an! d trailers to support its operations, but primarily utilizes third-party transportation providers for the movement of customer shipments.
The Truckload segment consists of the operating results of the Con-way Truckload business unit. Con-way Truckload is a full-truckload motor carrier that utilizes a fleet of tractors and trailers to provide short- and long-haul, asset-based transportation services throughout North America. Con-way Truckload provides dry-van transportation services to manufacturing, industrial and retail customers while using single drivers as well as two-person driver teams over long-haul routes, with each trailer containing only one customer’s goods. This origin-to-destination freight movement limits intermediate handling and is not dependent on the same network of locations utilized by LTL carriers. On average, Con-way Truckload transports shipments more than 800 miles from origin to destination. Under its regional s ervice offering, Con-way Truckload transports truckload shipments of less than 600 miles, including local-area service for truckload shipments of less than 100 miles.
Con-way Truckload offers through-trailer service into and out of Mexico through all major gateways in Texas, Arizona and California. For a shipment with an origin or destination in Mexico, Con-way Truckload provides transportation for the domestic portion of the freight move, and a Mexican carrier provides the pick-up, linehaul and delivery services within Mexico. At December 31, 2011, Con-way Truckload operated five owned terminals with bulk fuel, tractor and trailer parking, and in some cases, equipment maintenance and washing facilities. In addition, Con-way Truckload also utilizes various drop yards for temporary trailer storage throughout the United States. At December 31, 2011, Con-way Truckload owned and operated approximately 2,700 tractors and 8,000 trailers, including tractors held under capital lease agreements.
! The Other! reporting segment consists of the operating results of Road Systems, a trailer manufacturer, and certain corporate activities for which the related income or expense has not been allocated to other reporting segments, including results related to corporate re-insurance activities and corporate properties. Road Systems primarily manufactures and refurbishes trailers for Con-way Freight and Con-way Truckload.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Wunderlich’s Nicholas Bender thinks FedEx’s results bode well for Old Dominion (ODFL), Con-way (CNW) and Saia (SAIA):
We expect all less-than-truckload carriers to benefit in 2Q14 from the same trends that carried FedEx Freight to a banner 4Q14. This includes Hold-rated Old Dominion, which will continue to grow at well above market rates, and Buy-rated Con-way, which we believe can leverage a strong 2Q14 to prime the pump on margin enhancement efforts. Our favorite name in the space remains Saia (SAIA-$42.92, Buy), which will once again see accelerating tonnage growth in 2Q14. Though tonnage growth will moderate in 2H14 due to steeper comps, there remains considerable potential for the company to boost yield and continue winning incremental business with new accounts.
- [By John Kell]
Con-way Inc.(CNW) issued a weaker-than-expected profit outlook for the fourth quarter after the trucking company encountered challenges at its Con-way Freight and Menlo Worldwide Logistics operations. The company’s shares declined 6.1% to $38.89 premarket.
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Knight Transportation Inc (KNX)
Knight Transportation, Inc. (Knight), incorporated on August 31, 1989, is a provider of multiple truckload transportation services, which generally involve the movement of full trailer or container loads of freight from origin to destination for a single customer. The Company is a provider of multiple truckload transportation services with a nationwide network of service centers through which it operates one of the tractor fleets. In addition to its own fleet, the Company also partners with third-party equipment providers to provide truckload capacity and a broad range of solutions to truckload shippers. The Company has five operating segments comprised of three asset-based operating segments: dry van truckload, temperature-controlled truckload and port services and two non-asset-based operating segments brokerage and intermodal services. Through its asset-based and non-asset-based capabilities the Company is able to transport, or can arrange for the transportation of, gen eral commodities for customers throughout the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico.
The Company’s asset-based businesses generally include dry van truckload, refrigerated truckload, dedicated truckload, and drayage services. Its non-asset-based services generally include rail intermodal and truckload brokerage services. However, within its asset-based services, the use of independent contractors to provide tractors lowers the capital investment in its dry van and refrigerated operations. In addition, drayage operations generally involve less expensive tractors with longer lives and do not require a investment in trailering equipment. As of December 31, 2012, it operated 3,627 company-owned tractors with an average age of 1.9 years. It also had under contract 507 tractors owned and operated by independent contractors. Its trailer fleet consisted of 9,564 53-foot long trailers with an average age of 5.5 years and includes 1,092 temperature-controlled trai lers.
- [By Victor Nguyen]
A report released Thursday morning, Citigroup analyst Christian Wetherbee upgrades Knight Transportation (NYSE: KNX) to BUY from NEUTRAL, increasing price target from $17 to $22.
- [By Sean Williams]
Swift Transportation (NYSE: SWFT ) , for example, delivered a 4% increase in revenue this past quarter in spite of having fewer trucks in service. The company was able to realize better utilization of its existing fleet and actually saw fuel prices fall from the previous year. The results were even more robust for Knight Transportation (NYSE: KNX ) , whose shareholders saw revenue rise by 7% as the company grew from the year-ago quarter for the 14th straight time and delivered growth from each of its business segments.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Knight Transportation (NYSE: KNX ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Forward Air Corp (FWRD)
Forward Air Corporation operates in two segments: Forward Air, Inc. (Forward Air) and Forward Air Solutions, Inc. (FASI). Through the Company’s Forward Air segment, it is a provider of time-definite surface transportation and related logistics services to the North American deferred air freight market. It offers its customers local pick-up and delivery (Forward Air Complete) and scheduled surface transportation of cargo. It transports cargo that must be delivered at a specific time but is less time-sensitive than traditional air freight. As of December 31, 2011, it operated its Forward Air segment through a network of terminals located on or near airports in 85 cities in the United States and Canada, including a central sorting facility in Columbus, Ohio and 12 regional hubs serving key markets. It also offers its customers an array of logistics and other services including expedited full truckload (TLX); dedicated fleets; warehousing; customs brokerage; and shipment conso lidation, deconsolidation and handling. During the year ended December 31, 2011, approximately 23.9% of the freight it handled was for overnight delivery, approximately 61.3% was for delivery within two to three days and the balance was for delivery in four or more days. Through its FASI segment, it provides pool distribution services throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest and Southwest continental United States. Pool distribution involves managing high-frequency, last mile handling and distribution of time-sensitive product to destinations in geographic regions. In March 2013, it acquired Total Quality, Inc. In February 2014, Forward Air Corporation acquired Central States Trucking Co. and Central States Logistics, Inc. from Central States Inc.
The Company receives freight from air freight forwarders, integrated air cargo carriers and passenger and cargo airlines at its terminals, which are located on or near airports in the U nited States and Canada. It also picks up freight from custo! mers at designated locations via our Forward Air Complete service. It transports these shipments by truck through its network to its terminals nearest the destinations of the shipments. It operates scheduled service to and from each of its terminals through its Columbus, Ohio central sorting facility or through one of its 12 regional hubs. It also operates scheduled shuttle service directly between terminals where the volume of freight warrants bypassing the Columbus, Ohio central sorting facility or a regional hub. When a shipment arrives at its terminal nearest its destination, the customer arranges for the shipment to be picked up and delivered to its final destination, or it, in the alternative, through its Forward Air Complete service, deliver the freight for the customer to its final destination. Its airport-to-airport network consists of terminals located in the 85 cities. As of December 31, 2011, independent agents and FASI operate 18 and two of its Forward Air locat ions.
The Company operates direct terminal-to-terminal services and regional overnight service between terminals where justified by freight volumes. It provides regional overnight service to the markets within its network. Direct shipments also reduce the likelihood of damage because of reduced handling and sorting of the freight. It operates regional hubs in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Newburgh, Orlando, and Sacramento. During 2011, the average weekly volume of freight moving through its network was approximately 34.0 million pounds per week. During 2011, its average shipment weighed approximately 717 pounds and shipment sizes ranged from small boxes weighing only a few pounds to large shipments of several thousand pounds.
The Company’s logistics and other services allow customers to access services from a single source: expedited full truckload (TLX); dedicated fleets; cu stoms brokerage, such as assistance with the United States C! ustoms an! d Border Protection (U.S. Customs) procedures for both import and export shipments; warehousing, dock and office space; drayage and intermodal; hotshot or ad-hoc ultra expedited services, and shipment consolidation and handling, such as shipment build-up and break-down and reconsolidation of air or ocean pallets or containers.
Forward Air Solutions
Through the Company’s FASI segment, it provides pool distribution services through a network of terminals and service locations in 19 cities throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest and Southwest continental United States. Pool distribution involves managing high-frequency handling and distribution of time-sensitive product to destinations in specific geographic regions. Its customers for this product are regional and nationwide distributors and retailers, such as mall, strip mall and outlet-based retail chains. Its pool distribution network consists of terminals and service locations in the 19 cities. Its Forward Air wholesale customer base is comprised of freight forwarders, integrated air cargo carriers and passenger and cargo airlines. Its air freight forwarder customers vary in size from independent, single facility companies to international logistics companies, such as SEKO Worldwide, AIT Worldwide Logistics, Expeditors International of Washington, Associated Global, UPS Supply Chain Solutions and Pilot Air Freight. Its FASI pool distribution customers are consisted of national and regional retailers and distributors, such as The Limited, The Marmaxx Group, The GAP, and Aeropostale. The Company also participates in air cargo and retail trade shows and advertise its services through direct mail programs and through the Internet via www.forwardair.com and www.forwardairsolutions.com.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Forward Air (Nasdaq: FWRD ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Heartland Express Inc (HTLD)
Heartland Express, Inc. (Heartland), incorporated on August 8, 1986, is a short-to-medium haul truckload carrier. The Company provides regional dry van truckload services through its regional terminals plus its corporate headquarters. The Company transports freight for shippers and generally earns revenue based on the number of miles per load delivered. The Company’s primary traffic lanes are between customer locations east of the Rocky Mountains. The Company is a holding company of Heartland Express Inc. of Iowa, Heartland Express Services, Inc., Heartland Express Maintenance Services, Inc. and A & M Express, Inc. Heartland operates nine specialized regional distribution operations in Atlanta, Georgia; Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Chester, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; Kingsport, Tennessee; Olive Branch, Mississippi; Phoenix, Arizona, and Seagoville, Texas. The Company operates maintenance facilities at all regional distribution operating centers along wit h shop only locations in Fort Smith, Arkansas and O’Fallon, Missouri. In November 2013, Heartland Express Inc acquired 100% of the stock of Gordon Trucking, Inc.
The Company’s operations department is responsible for maintaining the continuity between the customer’s needs and Heartland’s ability to meet those needs by communicating customer’s expectations to the fleet management group. They are charged with development of customer relationships, ensuring service standards, coordinating proper freight-to-capacity balancing, trailer asset management, and daily tactical decisions pertaining to matching the customer demand with the appropriate capacity within geographical service areas. They assign orders to drivers based on well-defined criteria, such as driver safety and United States Department of Transportation (the DOT) compliance, customer needs and service requirements, on-time service, equipment utilization, driver time at home, operational effici ency, and equipment maintenance needs. Fleet management is r! esponsible for driver management and development. Their responsibilities include meeting the needs of the drivers within the standards that have been set by the organization and communicating the requirements of the customers to the drivers on each order to ensure successful execution. Serving the short-to-medium haul market (500 miles average length of haul in 2012) permits the Company to use primarily single, rather than team drivers and dispatch loads directly from origin to destination without an intermediate equipment change other than for driver scheduling purposes.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Heartland Express (HTLD) rose today despite being cut by Stifel Nicolaus for valuation reasons.
Shares of Heartland Express have gained 50% this year, trumping the 38% rise in Con-Way (CNW) and the 29% advance in J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT) but lagging Old Dominion Freight Lines (ODFL) and Swift Transportation (SWFT).
That big gain was enough for Stifel’s John Larkin say no mas and cut his rating on Heartland Express. They explain why:
Downgrading from Buy to Hold as the company’s shares appear fully and fairly valued. In fact, shares have recently traded through our 12-month fair value estimate of $19 (or 16.0x our 2015 EPS estimate of $1.15 plus ~$0.68 per share NPV of future cash tax benefits).
Rating change is primarily valuation based as well as from our view that most transportation equities are trading ahead of the still mediocre underlying freight market fundamentals.
BB&T’s Thomas Albrecht and team, who upgraded Heartland Express to Buy from Hold yesterday, explain why they think the stock will do just fine regardless of the economy:
Heartland is an intriguing play upon both a slow-growth economy and a rapidly growing one (along with tight capacity). Many carriers are only able to thrive in the latter environment. With HTLD we believe that even in a sluggish economy it has a self-generating EPS story through the integration and growth of Gordon. Q3’13, a very difficult quarter for TL carriers, saw HTLD post a 79.3% OR versus 83.3%.
The timing of the Gordon deal seems ideal, similar to the Great Coastal acquisition in mid-2002. Back then the TL market was stabilizing, but had yet to really take off, which occurred in the back half of 2003. Those 4-5 quarters allowed HTLD to assess customers, integrate operations, consolidate facilities and get ready for the next cycle. By the time that occurred HTLD was ready to take advantage of the capacity
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Heartland Express (HTLD) has dropped 2.2% to $19.12 after it was cut to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.
Allergan (AGN) was upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.
- [By Lauren Pollock]
Heartland Express Inc.(HTLD), a trucking firm steered by the Gerdin family, agreed to acquire another family controlled peer, Gordon Trucking Inc., in a transaction valued at about $300 million. Shares climbed 12% to $16.05 in light premarket trading.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Equities Trading UP
Heartland Express (NASDAQ: HTLD) shot up 19.72 percent to $17.14 after the company reported that it has acquired Gordon Trucking for $300 million.
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Universal Truckload Services Inc (UACL)
Universal Truckload Services, Inc., incorporated on December 11, 2001, is engaged in providing transportation services to shippers throughout the United States and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The Company’s over-the-road trucking services include both flatbed and dry van operations and it provides rail-truck and steamship-truck intermodal support services. It also offers truck brokerage services, as well as full service international freight forwarding and customs house brokerage services. The Company provides truckload transportation and related services for a range of general commodities over irregular routes using dry and specialty vans and un-sided trailers, including flatbed, drop deck, and specialty. In December 2013, the Company announced that it has completed acquisition of Westport Axle Corporation.
The Company primarily operates through a contractor network of agents and owner-operators who provide the Company with approximately 3,100 tractors and approximately 3,000 trailers. At December 31, 2011, the Company had approximately 565 agents. The Company conducts its operations through its wholly owned operating subsidiaries under the brand names, such as Universal Am-Can, Ltd., Mason & Dixon Lines, Inc., Louisiana Transportation Inc., Mason Dixon Intermodal, Inc., Economy Transport, Inc., Great American Lines, Inc., Universal Logistics Solutions, Inc., Universal Logistics Solutions International, Inc. and Cavalry Transportation, LLC.
The Company provides services in three categories, such as truckload services, brokerage services and intermodal support services. The Company transports a range of general commodities, including machinery, building materials, paper, food, consumer goods, automotive parts, furniture, steel and other metals. During the year ended December 31, 2011, its truckload operations represented 60.5%, of its operating revenues.
The Company provides primari ly broker freight to third-party transportation providers th! rough its agent network at times when the Company generates more freight business than it can service with its available owner-operators. The Company offers full service international freight forwarding and customs house brokerage services, as well as third-party logistic services. During 2011, its brokerage services represented 24.8%, of its operating revenues. Its intermodal support services are primarily short-to-medium distance delivery of rail and steamship containers between the railhead or port and the customer and drayage services. During 2011, its intermodal support services represented 14.7% of its operating revenues.
The Company’s agents provide the primary interaction with its shippers. They generate freight shipments and also provide terminal and dispatch services for the owner-operators and are an essential source for recruitment of new owner-operators. The agents use a company-provided software program to list available freight procured by the a gent, dispatch owner-operators to haul the freight and provide all administrative information necessary for it to establish the credit arrangements for each shipper. The owner-operators are individuals who own, operate and maintain one or more tractors that they either provide drivers, or drive themselves. The Company’s owner-operators provide it with approximately 3,100 tractors. Owner-operators also may own trailers that they provide the Company in addition to their tractor and driving services. As of December 31, 2011, its owner-operators provided approximately 3,000 trailers, which represent over 50% of the trailers the Company use in its business.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Universal Truckload Services (Nasdaq: UACL ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.
- [By Sean Williams]
What: Shares of Universal Truckload Services (NASDAQ: UACL ) , a North American provider of trucking and logistics solutions, jumped as much as 12% after receiving an upgrade from BB&T Capital Markets.
Top Freight Companies To Buy Right Now: Echo Global Logistics Inc (ECHO)
Echo Global Logistics, Inc. (Echo) is a provider of technology enabled transportation and supply chain management services. Its Web-based technology platform compiles and analyzes data from its network of over 24,000 transportation providers to serve its clients’ shipping and freight management needs. Its technology platform, composed of Web-based software applications and a database, enables it to identify excess transportation capacity, obtain competitive rates, and execute thousands of shipments every day. It focuses on arranging transportation across truckload (TL) and less than truck load (LTL), and it also offers small parcel, inter-modal (which involves moving a shipment by rail and truck), domestic air, expedited and international transportation services. Its logistics services include rate negotiation, shipment execution and tracking, carrier management, routing compliance, freight bill audit and payment and performance management reporting, including executive da shboard tools. Effective January 1, 2011, the Company acquired Nationwide Traffic Services, LLC. (Nationwide) Effective July 1, 2011, the Company acquired Advantage Transport, Inc. (Advantage). Effective December 1, 2011, the Company acquired the stock of Trailer Transport Systems (TTS). In June 2012, the Company acquired Plum Logistics, LLC. In July 2012, it acquired all of the assets of Shipper Direct Logistics, Inc. In October 2012, the Company acquired Sharp Freight Systems, Inc.
The Company’s clients fall into two categories, enterprise and transactional. Its enterprise clients outsource their transportation management function to Echo. It enters into multi-year contracts with its enterprise clients. As part of its value proposition, it also provides core logistics services to these clients, including the management of both freight expenditures and logistical issues surrounding freight to be transported. It provides transportation and logistics services t o its transactional clients on a shipment-by-shipment basis.! It is a non-asset-based provider of technology enabled transportation and logistics services. Through its carrier network, it provides transportation services using a range of modes of transportation.
The Company provides Truckload (TL) services across all TL segments, including dry vans, temperature-controlled units and flatbeds. Using its LaneIQ technology, it provide advanced dispatch, communication and data collection tools and capacity information to its clients on a real-time basis. The Company provides less than truckload (LTL) services involving the shipment of single or multiple pallets of freight. Using its RateIQ 2.0 technology, it obtains real-time pricing and transit time information for every LTL shipment from its database of LTL carriers. It provides small parcel services for packages of all sizes. Using its EchoPak technology, it delivers cost saving opportunities to its clients. Inter-modal transportation is the shipping of freight by multiple modes, using a container that is transferred between ships, railcars or trucks. It offers inter-modal transportation services for its clients, which utilizes both trucks and rail. The Company provides domestic air and expedited shipment services for its clients when traditional LTL services do not meet delivery requirements. It uses ETM track and trace tools for up to date information to its clients through EchoTrak. The Company provides air and ocean transportation services for its clients, offering a comprehensive international delivery option to its clients.
In addition to arranging for transportation, the Company provides logistics services, either on-site (in the case of some enterprise clients) or off-site, to manage the flow of those goods from origin to destination. Its core logistics services include rate negotiation; procurement of transportation, both contractually and in the spot m arket; shipment execution and tracking; carrier management, ! reporting! and compliance; executive dashboard presentations and detailed shipment reports; freight bill audit and payment; claims processing and service refund management; design and management of inbound client freight programs; individually configured Web portals and self-service data warehouses; enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration with transactional shipment data, and integration of shipping applications into client e-commerce sites. Customers communicate their freight needs, typically on a shipment-by-shipment basis, to the individual or team responsible for their account. Customers communicate with it by means of telephone, fax, Internet, e-mail, or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
The Company’s ETM technology platform allows it to analyze its clients’ transportation requirements and provide customized shipping recommendations. It collects and store pricing and market capacity data in its ETM database from each interac tion with carriers, and its database expands as a result of these interactions. It has also developed data acquisition tools, which retrieve information from both private and public transportation databases, including subscription-based sources and public transportation rate boards, and incorporate that information into the ETM database. Its clients communicate their transportation needs to it electronically through its EchoTrak web portal, other computer protocols, or by phone. ETM generates pricing and carrier information for its clients by accessing pre-negotiated rates with preferred carriers or using present or historical pricing and capacity information contained in its database. If a client enters its own shipment, ETM automatically alerts the appropriate account executive. After the carrier is selected, either by it or the client, its account executives use its ETM technology platform to manage all aspects of the shipping process.
The Company’s FastLan e is an Internet-based Web portal, which allows its carriers! to view ! shipments available for tender, update equipment availability and preferred lanes, check on the status of all unpaid invoices, unbilled shipments, shipments in transit and other information used to resolve any billing discrepancies. There is also a mobile FastLane application, which allows carriers to view similar information remotely. eConnect is a set of tools, which allows the Company’s clients and carriers to interact directly with ETM electronically through any of several computer protocols, including EDI, extensible markup language (XML) and file transfer protocol (FTP). The eConnect tools serve as an electronic bridge between the other elements of its ETM technology platform and its clients’ enterprise resource planning (ERP), billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, order management, back office and e-commerce systems. Through eConnect, its clients are able to request shipping services and receive financial and tracking data using their existing systems.
EchoTrak is an Internet-based Web portal, which connects and integrates its clients with ETM. By entering a username and password, its clients are able to enter orders, display historical and active shipments in the ETM system using configurable data entry screens sorted by carrier, price, delivery date, destination and other relevant specifications. EchoTrak also generates automatic alerts to ensure that shipments are moving in accordance with the client specifications and timeline. There is also a mobile EchoTrak application, which allows customers to perform similar functions remotely. RateIQ2.0 is a pricing engine, which manages LTL tariffs and generates rate quotes and transit times for LTL shipments. RateIQ2.0 also provides integrated tools to manage dispatch, communications, data collection and management functions relating to LTL shipments. LaneIQ is a pricing engine, which generates rate quotes for TL shipments. LaneIQ also provides integrated tools to man age dispatch, communications, headhaul and backhaul data col! lection a! nd management functions relating to TL shipments. EchoPak is a small parcel pricing and audit engine. For each small parcel shipped, EchoPak audits carrier compliance with on-time delivery requirements and pricing tariffs. In addition, EchoPak tracks information for each parcel and is able to aggregate and analyze that data for clients. For instance, clients are able to view shipments by date, business unit, product line and location, and clients can access information regarding service levels and pricing
The Company’s Shipment Tracking stores shipment information en-route and after final delivery. The shipment data is acquired through its carrier EDI integration, allowing its clients to track the location and status of all shipments on one screen, regardless of mode or carrier. Final delivery information is permanently archived, allowing it to provide its clients with carrier performance reporting by comparing actual delivery times with the published transit time standards.
Document Imaging allows the Company to store digital images of all shipping documents, including bills of lading and delivery receipts. CAS (Cost Allocation System) automatically audits carrier invoices against its rating engine and accounts payable accrual system. If the amounts match, the invoice is automatically released for payment. If the amounts do not match, the invoice is sent to various administrative personnel for manual processing and resolution. CAS also integrates to its general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable systems. Accounting includes its general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable functions. Accounting is integrated with CAS and EchoIQ. EchoIQ stores internally and externally generated data to support its reporting and analytic functions and integrate all of its core applications with ETM. ETM supports its logistics services, which it provides to its clients as part of its value proposition. Its ET M technology platform is able to track individual shipments ! and provi! de customized data and reports throughout the lifecycle of the shipment, allowing it to manage the entire shipping process for its clients. It also market Flex TMS.
The Company competes with C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Total Quality Logistics, UPS, FedEx, Schneider, Conway, JB Hunt and ABF.
- [By Will Ashworth]
Without further adieu, here are my five best stocks for the next 20 years:
Best Stocks #1 (Small Cap): Echo Global Logistics (ECHO)
Echo Global Logistics (ECHO) uses web-based proprietary technology to provide business process outsourcing to the transportation industry. Founded in 2005, ECHO serves more than 28,500 small- and midsize customers who use its technology to access the best shipping prices from a network of 24,000 carriers in a matter of seconds.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Echo Global Logistics (Nasdaq: ECHO ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.