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Knight Transportation cuts outlook on weak demand

PHOENIX (AP) -- Knight Transportation Inc. on Tuesday lowered its earnings outlook for its third and fourth quarters due to weak demand for freight shipping.

The trucking company said that it now expects earnings between 18 cents per share and 20 cents per share in the third quarter that ended Sept. 30. That's down from its previous earnings estimate between 22 cents per share and 24 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, expect earnings of 23 cents per share during the same quarter, according to FactSet.

For the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, the company now expects earnings between 20 cents per share and 23 cents per share. It previously said it expected earnings between 22 cents per share and 25 cents per share.

Analysts expect earnings of 24 cents per share during the fourth quarter, according to FactSet.

Besides soft demand for freight shipping, the Phoenix-based company also blamed its lowered outlook on higher payroll, training and recruiting costs. The company said that it had trouble recruiting qualified drivers.

In recent weeks, the company has seen some improvement, Kevin Knight, the company's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The company will release its third quarter results on Oct. 23.

Knight Transportation shares fell 95 cents, or 5.8 percent, to $15.50 in extended trading following the release of the earnings report. They had ended the regular trading session down 14 cents to close at $16.45. Through Tuesday's close, its shares are up 13 percent over the past year.