Freight logistics company
Expeditors International of Washington
delivered exactly what was expected in its second-quarter earnings report Tuesday morning.
The Seattle-based company said net income rose 18% to $27.9 million, or 26 cents a share, meeting analysts' expectations, according to the consensus estimate of Thomson First Call. Revenue climbed 17% to $625.7 million, which was better than the $604.4 million expected, according to Briefing.com.
"No real surprises in this earnings report," said Alex Brand, analyst at Virginia-based BB&T Capital Markets.
The lack of an upside or downside surprise might disappoint any spectators in the recent
dissing match between Expeditors' Chief Executive and Chairman Peter Rose and Bear Stearns analyst Ed Wolfe. In an 8-K filing in late July, Expeditors told an unnamed analyst (revealed to be Wolfe) that he has lost his objectivity after the analyst asked if his requests to visit the company's headquarters were being ignored because of his "underperform" rating on the stock.
The stock, after skidding 11% early last week, was up $1.59, or 4.6%, at $36.11 in midday trading. "You can tell by the stock reaction that there are a number of people trying to be bearish about the company," said Brand, signaling that short-covering may be helping lift the stock this week.
Despite concerns about difficult year-over-year comparisons in its air-freight business, which got a lift last year because of the West Coast port shutdowns, the company posted a 3% increase in air-freight revenue to $287.5 million. Brand, who had expected Expeditors to post earnings of 27 cents a share, said the yield on the company's ocean freight business came in a little below what he expected, but that total volume remained strong.
Another interesting point about Expeditors' earnings, according to Brand, was the company's labor expenses as a percentage of net revenue. Brand noted that the percentage remained at 55%, the same as the first quarter. "Normally, we model for that to be higher in the first quarter, then go down for the rest of the year. It looks like they are investing in personnel, which may mean they're preparing for another leg of growth." The company has also signaled, in its latest 8-K filing, that it is "looking long and hard" at significantly expanding its business in the competitive domestic arena.
"We're grateful to have come through a rather eventful quarter as well as we did," Rose said in the earnings release. Rose noted the progress the company is making in Europe as a highlight this quarter. "While sometimes you have to take one step backward to be able to take two forward, we continue to streamline and adjust as we move forward."