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Saia Inc. (SAIA): Zacks Rank Buy

Tracey Ryniec

Saia Inc. (SAIA), a regional trucker, is a triple threat. This Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) is a value stock with a forward P/E of 13.7, is expected to see triple digit earnings growth in 2012 and has momentum as shares are at a 2-year high.

Saia is a transportation company providing regional, interregional and national less-than-truckload service in 34 states. Headquartered in Georgia, the company has a network of 148 terminals.

Saia Beat By 100% In Q1

Saia reported first quarter results on Apr 27 and blew by the Zacks consensus by 17 cents. Earnings per share were 34 cents which easily outpaced the 4 cents earned in the year ago quarter.

Revenue jumped 11% to $269 million. The LTL yield rose 7.9% due to the impact of favorable pricing actions and higher fuel surcharges.

The mild winter also boosted the quarter. Saia had service that was 98% on-time in the quarter.

Big Turnaround In Earnings

Earnings have turned around since the Great Recession. The transports are one of the top indicators of strength in the economy.

  • 2009 EPS: loss of 67 cents
  • 2010 EPS: 11 cents
  • 2011 EPS: 70 cents
  • 2012 EPS expected: $1.60

2012 Zacks Consensus Estimate Continues To Rise

4 estimates have moved higher over the last month, including 1 in the last week, which has pushed up the Zacks Consensus Estimate 12% to $1.60.

This is huge earnings growth of 128% as Saia earned just 70 cents last year.

Value Fundamentals

Shares have been on a tear and recently hit new 2-year highs.

But Saia still has plenty of value.

In addition to a P/E under 15, which is my cut-off for value, Saia also has a price-to-book ratio of 1.6. A P/S ratio under 3.0 usually indicates value.

Other value fundamentals include a price-to-sales ratio of just 0.3. A P/S under 1.0 can mean a stock is undervalued.

Investors looking for a play on the economic recovery can find that in Saia. They will also get value, growth and momentum. That's a unique triple threat.

Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Insider Trader services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec.

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