Trucking giant JB Hunt beats on revenue, misses on profit (JBHT)


JB Hunt, one of the biggest trucking companies in the US, on Thursday reported financial results for the fourth quarter.

Here are the key numbers, compared to what analysts were expecting, according to Bloomberg data:

Earnings per share: $0.81, down 77% year-over-year ($1.21 expected)

Revenue: $2.32 billion, up 16% YoY ($2.30 billion expected)

JB Hunt’s quarterly profit was impacted by a preannounced pretax charge of $134 million for contingent liabilities related to the ongoing arbitration with BNSF Railway.

JB Hunt has seen its stock slide by as much as 33% since peaking at $131.74 in June. Shares have rebounded a bit since Christmas Eve, but are still 24% below their record high.

Like JB Hunt, other trucking giants — Knight-Swift Transportation, Old Dominion Freight Line, Landstar System, Werner Enterprises — have also been under pressure in the past few months.

“Market valuations for most trucking and logistics stocks have been correcting,” Matthew Young, an equity analyst at Morningstar, told Markets Insider in December. “It’s become more obvious that freight demand and pricing gains will slow meaningfully in 2019.”

He added: “Over the past year or so, our take has been that many trucking and logistics stocks were previously overvalued, effectively baking in overly optimistic long-term growth assumptions due in large part to an exceptionally favorable pricing backdrop (rooted in unusually tight capacity) that propped up expectations.”

The truck-driver shortage has dominated headlines in the logistics space as massive demand from retail giants has added to the difficulty of finding trucks and drivers. But on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which conducts local surveys to get a better idea of the US economy, said that the shortage of trucking capacity appears to have eased in some regions, such as Boston.

JB Hunt was down 17% in the past year.