|10:07 EDT||WERN, CHRW, HTLD, JBHT, KNX, XPO||Werner leads trucking stocks lower after guidance miss|
Trucking company Werner Enterprises (WERN) and other trucking companies are retreating after Werner provided significantly lower than expected third quarter earnings per share guidance. The company expects its earnings per share to be 33c-36c, compared with analysts' consensus estimate of 44c. The company cited several factors that are negatively affecting its profits, including cost increases for truck depreciation and higher driver pay. Also weighing on the company's bottom line are higher fuel costs, rising health care costs, and increased maintenance equipment costs, the company said. Meanwhile, in a note to investors earlier today Jefferies research analyst Peter Nesvold reduced his 2012 earnings estimates for six trucking companies, including Werner. The latter company's guidance confirms that the trucking industry is weak, Nesvold wrote. However, many other data points indicate that the trucking industry is struggling, the analyst believes. For example, Nesvold noted that a week ago Jefferies found that diesel consumption data had reached its lowest point since December 2009, while the firm noted last Monday that truckload utilization levels continue to drop. In addition to Werner, Nesvold reduced his estimates on the following companies: C.H. Robinson (CHRW), Heartland Express (HTLD), J.B. Hunt (JBHT), Knight Transportation (KNX), and XPO Logistics (XPO). The analyst maintained a Buy rating on XPO and Hold ratings on the rest of the stocks. In mid-morning trading, Werner slumped 8.03% to $21.77, CH Robinson declined 0.81% to $56.78, Heartland dropped 3.33% to $13.36, J.B. Hunt lost 1.08% to $51.95, Knight tumbled 5.08% to $14.56, and XPO inched down 0.19% to $15.55.