James Dennin, Kapitall: Truck orders have hit an 8-year high as the US economy gains speed, so we looked for trucking stocks with institutional purchasing. In a major sign of growing optimism about the US economy, trucking orders have hit an 8 year high. Even throughout the harsh winter, shipping volumes and prices went up for the trucking industry. This means that truckers are ramping up their bets that demand will continue to grow. Pay is on the rise for drivers as well, as there aren't enough of them to go around. Read more from Kapitall: Fast food companies are seeing rising costs from two sides The S&P Supercomposite Trucking Index is up over 8% this year. US GDP growth, which neared 2% last year, is expected to top 3% in 2015. This is also good news for the industries that support trucking companies: firms that sell the machinery, parts, and fuel. We decided to run a screen on trucking companies, both on the transportation and manufacturing side. Starting with a list of 30 stocks in these two sectors, we screened for companies that experienced spikes in institutional buying this quarter. This means that groups like hedge funds and pensions bought at least 5% of the stock's float or more as of March. That left us with 3 trucking stocks on our list. Do you think the economy will continue to support increased trucking demand? Use the list below to begin your analysis and let us know what you think in the comments. Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 1. P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. ( PTSI): Engages in transporting general commodities. Market cap at $191.36M, most recent closing price at $23.95. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 229.3K shares, which represents about 7.17% of the company's float of 3.20M shares.
Major holder: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP at a 7.96% stake.2. Swift Transportation Company ( SWFT): Provides transportation services. Market cap at $3.17B, most recent closing price at $22.45. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 8.3M shares, which represents about 8.07% of the company's float of 102.81M shares. Major holder: Vanguard Group, Inc. at a 5.75% stake. 3. Universal Truckload Services Inc. ( UACL): Operates as an owner-operator and agency based truckload motor carrier in the United States and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Market cap at $688.24M, most recent closing price at $22.85. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 292.1K shares, which represents about 5.36% of the company's float of 5.45M shares. Major holder: Royce & Associates, LLC at a 3.04% stake. (List compiled by James Dennin, a Kapitall Wrier. Monthly returns sourced from Zacks investment Research. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity.)