FedEx Corp. (FDX - Get Report) shares traded sharply lower in pre-market trading Wednesday after the global package delivery group cuts its full-year profit forecast for the second time in three months after posting weaker-than-expected third quarter earnings.
FedEx said it expects earnings for its 2019 year, which ends in May, in the region of $15.10 to $15.90 per share, down from its December forecast of $15.50 to $16.60 per share and 7 cents shy of the consensus forecast. The Memphis-based group said challenges linked to its $4.8 billion acquisition of TNT Express, a key component of its international business, continues to weigh on profits, as will a broader global slowdown in trade and package demand.
"Part of the problem about reporting quarterly earnings is, you're looking in the rearview mirror. The facts of the matter are that we actually are seeing a few green sprouts now as we go into the spring," CEO Fred Smith told investors on a conference call late Tuesday.
"And quite frankly, we're under reported I think because of the government shutdown and the trade issues. This was a very, very tough operational winter and in some cases unprecedented, but again somewhat underreported," he added. "So, we are seeing some pickup across the Pacific. Our package business in Europe is now growing again. And so, we're feeling a little better about things. And obviously, the range of the fourth quarter and the fiscal year is related to our caution."
FedEx shares were marked 5.6% lower Wednesday at $170.92 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date gain to around 4%.
For the three months ending in February, FedEx reported adjusted earnings of $3.03 per share, down 18.5% from the same period last year and well shy of the Street consensus of $3.11 per share. Group revenues, FedEx said, rose 3% to $17 billion.
FDX identified a slowdown in the int'l macro environment as a driver of the weakness, and there still appears to be a lot of work left to do on the TNT/Express integration," said Credit Suisse analyst Allison Landry. "Within Ground, FDX noted that the shift toward eCommerce volumes contributed to the deceleration in yields."
"That said, the company is adamant that it is focused on the long term, and FDX identified numerous levers for growth including small and medium sized businesses, international, and eCommerce opportunities," she added. "To the extent that the bad news is now out of the way, we continue to think that downside risk remains limited."
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