The company posted stronger-than-expected revenue for the second quarter and pointed to a pickup in volume during the second half.
Revenue climbed 6% to $2.26 billion in the second quarter, just ahead of analysts' forecasts.
As for volume, "The volume increases we should see in the second half of the year are from a group of customers, not foreign individual customer or two customers" Chief Executive John Roberts told investors.
On the analyst front, Amit Mehrotra of Deutsche Bank upgraded JB Hunt to hold from sell and boosted his price target to $140 from $98.
A substantial net decrease of truckload capacity is coming in coming quarters, he said in a commentary cited by Bloomberg. That will generate upward pressure on volume and pricing, along with a “clear cyclical rebound.”
Meanwhile, low interest rates, limited capital expenditures and an improving growth outlook “provide a potent backdrop for high multiples,” Mehrotra said.
Raymond James analyst Patrick Tyler Brown lifted his price target to $145 from $140, affirming his outperform rating. JB Hunt should enjoy a “clearly tightening truck market,” he said, according to Bloomberg.
To be sure, not all analysts spoke glowingly of JB Hunt. Is this “as bad as it gets, or as good as it gets?” asked Sanford Bernstein’s David Vernon, according to Bloomberg.
JB Hunt shares recently traded at $136.78, up 3.2%. They have risen 17% year to date.