U.S. Markets open in 6 hrs 7 mins

Slew of Earnings Beat Fails to Lift Transport ETFs

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
URI vs. SSD: Which Stock Should Value Investors Buy Now?
URI vs. SSD: Which Stock Is the Better Value Option?
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The transportation sector is riding high on first-quarter financial results, with total earnings from 97.8% of the sector’s total market capitalization, reported so far, up 20.9% on revenue growth of 8.7%. Both revenue and earnings surprises of 76.9% also seem impressive.

This is because most of the key industry players managed to beat our estimates on earnings or revenues or both, while a few lagged.

For a better understanding, let’s dig into the earnings results of some well-known industry players:

Transportation Earnings in Focus

The world's largest package delivery company United Parcel Service UPS topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both fronts. Earnings of $1.55 surpassed the earnings estimate by a penny while revenues of $17.11 billion edged past the estimated $16.44 billion. For fiscal 2018, the company continued to expect earnings per share in the range of $7.03-$7.37. The Zacks Consensus Estimate at the time of earnings release was pegged at $7.22 (see: all the Industrials ETFs here).

The major railroads – Union Pacific UNP and Norfolk Southern Corp NSC – beat on both the top and the bottom lines while Kansas City Southern KSU missed. UNP and NSC surpassed the earnings estimate by 3 cents and 16 cents, respectively, and revenue estimates by $104 million and $35 million. On the other hand, earnings of $1.30 at KSU lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate by five cents while revenues of $639 million were also marginally below our estimated $644 million.

Ryder Systems R, the leader in supply chain management and fleet management services, beat the earnings estimate by three cents and revenue estimate by $30 million.

The two largest U.S. airlines Delta Air Lines DAL and United Continental UAL also reported better-than-expected results. Earnings of 74 cents and revenues of $9.97 billion at Delta edged past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 73 cents and $9.91 billion, respectively. For the second quarter of 2018, the carrier expects earnings per share in the range of $1.80-$2.00 (read: ETFs & Stocks to Fly High on Record Spring Travel).

At United Continental, earnings per share of 50 cents came above the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny and revenues of $9.03 billion slightly edged past the estimated $9.01 billion. The company raised the lower end of the earnings per share to $7.00-$8.50 for the year from $6.50-$8.50. The Zacks Consensus Estimate at the time of earnings release was pegged at $7.83.

Last but not the least, earnings for the leading trucking carrier J.B. Hunt JBHT came in couple of cents below the Zacks Consensus Estimate but revenues were $76 million above the estimate.

ETFs in Focus

While the string of solid results from industry players made the case for transport ETFs appealing, a jump in oil price and a rise in dollar led to losses over the past month. As such, iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Fund IYT, SPDR S&P Transportation ETF XTN and First Trust Nasdaq Transportation ETF (FTXR) shed 0.8%, 2.5% and 1.8%, respectively. All these funds have a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold).

IYT

The fund tracks the Dow Jones Transportation Average Index, giving investors exposure to a small basket of 20 securities. Though the product is heavily concentrated on the top firm FedEx (FDX) at 14.7%, the in-focus eight firms collectively make up for 47% of the portfolio. From a sector perspective, air freight & logistics takes the top spot with 30.2% of the portfolio while railroads, trucking and airlines round off to the next three spots with double-digit exposure each. The fund has accumulated nearly $804.5 million in AUM while sees solid trading volume of around 248,000 shares a day. It charges 44 bps in annual fees (read: Transport ETFs to Ride High on Huge Earnings Beat by FedEx).

XTN

This fund tracks the S&P Transportation Select Industry Index, holding 42 stocks in its basket. The in-focus firms account for over 2% share each. Further, about 31.2% of the portfolio is dominated by trucking, while airlines, and air freight & logistics take one-fourth share each. Airfreight & logistics, and railroads also make up for a double-digit allocation each. With AUM of $225.6 million, the fund charges 35 bps in fees per year from investors and trades in a lower volume of around 34,000 shares a day.

FTXR

This fund offers exposure to the 30 most-liquid U.S. transportation securities based on volatility, value and growth by tracking the Nasdaq US Smart Transportation Index. The in-focus eight firms account for a combined 24% share. FTXR has accumulated $3.6 million in its asset base and charges 60 bps in annual fees. Average trading volume is meager at 1,000 shares.



 

Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?

Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Ryder System, Inc. (R) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Kansas City Southern (KSU) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Union Pacific Corporation (UNP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (JBHT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ISHARS-TRAN AVG (IYT): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR-SP TRANSPT (XTN): ETF Research Reports
 
United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research
 
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report