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Ground Transportation Stocks Q1 In Review: Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) Vs Peers


Jabin Bastian /
2024/07/04 7:58 am EDT

The end of an earnings season can be a great time to discover new stocks and assess how companies are handling the current business environment. Let’s take a look at how Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) and the rest of the ground transportation stocks fared in Q1.

The growth of e-commerce and global trade continues to drive demand for shipping services, especially last-mile delivery, presenting opportunities for ground transportation companies. The industry continues to invest in data, analytics, and autonomous fleets to optimize efficiency and find the most cost-effective routes. Despite the essential services this industry provides, ground transportation companies are still at the whim of economic cycles. Consumer spending, for example, can greatly impact the demand for these companies’ offerings while fuel costs can influence profit margins.

The 10 ground transportation stocks we track reported a mixed Q1; on average, revenues were in line with analyst consensus estimates. Inflation progressed towards the Fed's 2% goal at the end of 2023, leading to strong stock market performance. The start of 2024 has been a bumpier ride, as the market switches between optimism and pessimism around rate cuts due to mixed inflation data, but ground transportation stocks have shown resilience, with share prices up 6.7% on average since the previous earnings results.

Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD)

Started as a hauler for Whirlpool washing machines, Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) is a transportation and logistics company specializing in truckload freight services.

Heartland Express reported revenues of $270.3 million, down 18.3% year on year, topping analysts' expectations by 2%. It was a weaker quarter for the company.

Heartland Express Chief Executive Officer Mike Gerdin commented on the quarterly operating results and ongoing initiatives of the Company, "Our consolidated operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2024 reflect the combination of an extended and significant period of weak freight demand, driven by excess capacity in the industry, unfavorable weather early in the quarter, and ongoing operating cost inflation."

Heartland Express Total Revenue

Heartland Express achieved the biggest analyst estimates beat but had the slowest revenue growth of the whole group. The stock is up 17.3% since the results and currently trades at $12.06.

Read our full report on Heartland Express here, it's free.

Best Q1: Ryder System (NYSE:R)

Founded as a concrete hauling company, Ryder System (NYSE:R) provides comprehensive transportation and logistics services globally.

Ryder System reported revenues of $3.10 billion, up 4.9% year on year, outperforming analysts' expectations by 1.2%. It was a strong quarter for the company, with a decent beat of analysts' earnings estimates.

Ryder System Total Revenue

The stock is up 13.1% since the results and currently trades at $123.14.

Is now the time to buy Ryder System? Access our full analysis of the earnings results here, it's free.

Schneider National (NYSE:SNDR)

Established after the founder sold the family car, Schneider National (NYSE:SNDR) is a transportation and logistics company offering a portfolio of truckload, intermodal, and logistics solutions.

Schneider National reported revenues of $1.32 billion, down 7.7% year on year, falling short of analysts' expectations by 1.9%. It was a weak quarter for the company, with a miss of analysts' earnings estimates.

The stock is up 14% since the results and currently trades at $24.03.

Read our full analysis of Schneider National's results here.

RXO (NYSE:RXO)

Spun off from XPO in 2022, RXO (NYSE:RXO) specializes in providing asset-light transportation and logistics services.

RXO reported revenues of $913 million, down 9.6% year on year, falling short of analysts' expectations by 3.7%. It was a decent quarter for the company, with an impressive beat of analysts' volume estimates.

RXO had the weakest performance against analyst estimates among its peers. The stock is up 40.9% since the results and currently trades at $26.79.

Read our full, actionable report on RXO here, it's free.

Saia (NASDAQ:SAIA)

Founded by a produce dealer, Saia (NASDAQ:SAIA) provides freight transportation solutions.

Saia reported revenues of $754.8 million, up 14.3% year on year, falling short of analysts' expectations by 2.2%. It was a weak quarter for the company, with a miss of analysts' volume estimates.

Saia delivered the fastest revenue growth among its peers. The stock is down 13.2% since the results and currently trades at $471.51.

Read our full, actionable report on Saia here, it's free.

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