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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights Knight-Swift Transportation, Old Dominion Freight Line, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Werner Enterprises and Landstar System

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – November 22, 2023 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (KNX - Free Report) , Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (ODFL - Free Report) , J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (JBHT - Free Report) , Werner Enterprises, Inc. (WERN - Free Report) and Landstar System, Inc.'s (LSTR - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Trucking Industry Up +29% Year to Date: More Road to Climb?

The Zacks Transportation - Truck industry currently stands to benefit from the improving freight demand scenario, declining expenses (led by a fall in fuel price) and solid investor-friendly steps.

Even though the overall freight demand scenario remains weak, some signs of improvement are evident, which bode well for the industry. For example, truckload demand rose 0.75% in September, marking the third consecutive month of increase. Moreover, freight demand indicators backed the improving scenario in September, as real consumer spending and manufacturing increased.

The industry also stands to benefit from the decline in fuel prices. As fuel expenses represent a key input cost for any transportation player, the decline in oil prices bodes well for the bottom-line growth of trucking stocks.Notably, oil prices declined almost 3.3% so far this year.

Additionally, consistent shareholder-friendly initiatives in the form of dividend payouts or share buybacks imply the solid financial strength of companies in the trucking industry. Dividend-paying stocks provide a solid income stream and have fewer chances of experiencing wild price swings. These stocks are safe bets for creating wealth, as the payouts generally act as a hedge against economic uncertainty like the current scenario.

To name a few, in February 2023, Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. upped its dividend by 16.7% to 14 cents. In the same time frame, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. upped its dividend by 33% to 40 cents per share. For the first nine months of 2023, ODFL rewarded its shareholders through $368.1 million of share repurchases and $131.5 million of dividend payments. Currently, KNX and ODFL carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

In January 2023, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. upped its dividend by 5% to 42 cents per share. During the first nine months of 2023, JBHT purchased almost 765,000 shares for $135.0 million and paid dividends worth $130.54 million. As of Sep 30, 2023, JBHT had approximately $416 million remaining under its share repurchase authorization.

In May 2023, Werner Enterprises, Inc. announced a hike in its dividend payout. Werner's board of directors has approved a dividend hike of 7.7%, thereby raising its quarterly cash dividend from 13 cents per share to 14 cents. As of Sep 30, 2023, WERN had 2.3 million shares available under its share repurchase authorization. Currently, JBHT and WERN both carry a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Concurrent with the second quarter of 2023 results, Landstar System, Inc.'s board of directors has announced a quarterly dividend of 33 cents per share, indicating a hike of 10% from its previous dividend payout of 30 cents. LSTR is presently a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) stock.

We believe such shareholder-friendly initiatives should boost investor confidence and positively impact the bottom line. Notably, the industry has gained 29% so far this year, outperforming the S&P 500 Index's northward movement of 18.5% and 3.2% rise of the Zacks Transportation sector.

Despite such positives, the trucking industry continues to grapple with issues like prolonged truck driver shortages. Driver shortage continues to be a major challenge facing the trucking industry. As old drivers retire, trucking companies find it difficult to hire drivers since the job does not appeal to the younger generation. The driver scarcity problem is likely to increase as freight demand further improves with the economy recovering.

Further, supply-chain woes are also hurting the prospects of the stocks belonging to the trucking industry.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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