NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Eight of the nine trucking companies profiled below have outperformed the S&P 500 so far this year.
Moving ahead in the fast lane are Knight Transportation (KNX - Get Report) up 23%, followed closely by Saia (SAIA - Get Report) with a gain of 22.2%. Both set new all-time intraday highs on Tuesday. Only JB Hunt (JBHT - Get Report) did not accelerate, the stock down 5.5% for the year to date.
In my judgment it is very unusual for trucking companies to have strong upward momentum. If you are long the truckers I mention, a prudent investment strategy is to reduce positions.
Arkansas Beat (ABFS) ($36.67, up 8.9% YTD): This trucker of general commodities announced a rate hike of 5.4% last week and the stock set a multiyear intraday high at $37.61 on March 7. The stock is above all five key moving averages in the table below and has a positive weekly chart profile with its five-week modified moving average at $34.24. My monthly pivot at $36.31 should be a magnet.
Con-way (CNW) ($40.96, up 3.1% YTD): The supply chain management and provider of freight services began 2014 with a spike to $44.48 on Jan. 10 then fell as low as $36.34 on Feb. 5. Since then it rebounded to its 200-day simple moving average at $41 and closed just below it on Tuesday. The weekly chart is positive the stock above its five-week MMA at $39.47 and its 200-week SMA at $33.99. Investors should consider reducing positions on strength to monthly and quarterly risky levels at $41.75 and $42.08.
Heartland Express (HTLD - Get Report) ($22.07, up 12.5% YTD): The provider of nationwide transportation services to major shippers set a new all-time intraday high at $22.42 on Tuesday and is above all five key moving averages shown in the table. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $20.76. My monthly pivot at $21.01 should be a magnet.
JB Hunt ($73.08, down 5.5% YTD): This trucker primarily transports a full load of freight and traded to an all-time intraday high at $79.89 on Jan. 22, then declined to as low as $70.73 on Feb. 20. The stock rebounded to its 200-day SMA at $74.25 but failed to hold that level on Tuesday. The weekly chart shifts to negative given a close this week below its five-week MMA at $73.91. My semiannual pivot is $73.17 with monthly and semiannual risky levels at $75.80 and $81.46.
Knight Transportation ($22.55, up 23% YTD): This short to medium distance hauler of dry goods set an all-time intraday high at $22.68 on Tuesday and is above all five key moving averages shown in today's table. The weekly chart is positive but overbought with its five-week MMA at $21.40. Monthly and semiannual value levels are $20.35 and $18.33 with a weekly risky level at $23.49.
Landstar System (LSTR - Get Report) ($61.15, up 6.4% YTD): The third-largest North America is also a logistics firm, and the stock traded to an all-time intraday high at $61.92 on March 7. The stock is above all five moving averages in today's table. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $59.05 and will likely be overbought next week. A quarterly value level is $60.67 with a monthly pivot at $61.03 which should put the brakes on the stocks momentum run into the fast lane.
Old Dominion (ODFL - Get Report) ($56.24, up 6.1% YTD): This less-than-truckload carrier of general commodities raised its guidance on tons per day for March by 11.7% from February. The stock set its all-time intraday high at $57 on Jan. 22 and matched it on March 10, which implies that the raised guidance was factored into the truckers shift into the fast lane. The stock is above all five moving averages in today's table. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $53.36. A monthly pivot at $57.33 should prevent a new high indicating risk to semiannual and quarterly value levels at $52.95 and $52.29.
Saia ($39.18, up 22.2% YTD): The provider of supply-chain solutions to shipper to retailers and manufacturers set an all-time intraday high at $40.68 on Tuesday then closed below Monday's low which is a "key reversal" day. The stock is above all five moving averages in today's table. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $35.39. My monthly value level is $35.18 with a quarterly risky level at $41.65.
Werner Enterprises (WERN - Get Report) ($25.96, up 5.0% YTD): The hauler of general commodities set a multiyear intraday high at $26.87 on Jan. 23 and the stock came within a penny of that level again on March 3. The stock is above all five moving averages in today's table. The weekly chart is neutral with its five-week MMA at $25.83 with a flat 12x3x3 weekly slow stochastic. Monthly and quarterly value levels are $24.75 and $23.21 with semiannual risky levels at $27.50 and $28.08.
Crunching the Numbers with Richard Suttmeier
There are five columns with moving average titles: Five-Week Modified Moving Average, 21-Day Simple Moving Average, 50-Day Simple Moving Average, 200-Day Simple Moving Average and the 200-Week Simple Moving Average.
The column labeled 12x3x3 Weekly Slow Stochastics shows the pattern on each weekly chart with readings from Oversold, Rising, Overbought, Declining or Flat.
Interpretations: (stocks below a moving average listed in Red are below that moving average)
Five-Week Modified Moving Average (MMA) is one of two indicators that define whether or not a weekly chart profile is positive, neutral or negative. The other is the status of the 12x3x3 weekly slow stochastic.
A stock with a positive technical rating is above its five-week MMA with rising or overbought stochastics.
A stock with a negative technical rating is below its five-week MMA with declining or oversold stochastics.
A stock with a neutral technical rating has a profile that is not positive or negative.
The 200-Week Simple Moving Average (SMA) is considered a long-term technical support or resistance and as a "reversion to the mean" over a rolling three- to five-year horizon. (Even Apple (AAPL - Get Report) declined to its 200-week SMA in June 2013.)
The 21-Day Simple Moving Average is a short-term technical support or resistance used by many hedge fund traders to adjust positions. A stock above its 21-day SMA will likely move higher over a rolling three to five day horizon and vice versa.
The 50-Day Simple Moving Average is also a technical support or resistance used by many strategists and commentators in financial TV.
The 200-Day Simple Moving Average is another technical support or resistance and I consider this level as a shorter-term "reversion to the mean" over a rolling six- to 12-month horizon. (Even Apple tested or crossed its 200-day SMA in nine of the last 10 years.)
Value Levels, Pivots and Risky Levels are calculated based upon the last nine weekly closes (W), nine monthly closes (M), nine quarterly closes (Q), nine semiannual closes (S) and nine annual closes (A). I have one column for pivots, which is a magnet for the period shown. The columns to the left of the pivots are first and second value levels. The columns to the right of the pivots are first and second risky levels.
Investors who wish to buy a stock should use a good-until-canceled GTC limit order to buy weakness to a value level. Investors who want to sell a stock should use a GTC limit order to sell strength to a risky level.
At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff