FedEx Corporation (FDX - Free Report) reported better-than-expected results in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 (ended May 31, 2018), driven by e-commerce growth and a buoyant U.S. economy.
The company’s earnings (excluding $1.76 from non-recurring items) of $5.91 per share comfortably surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.72. Furthermore, the bottom line soared substantially on a year-over-year basis. Results were aided by higher revenues.
Quarterly revenues increased 10.1% year over year to $17,314 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $17,186 million. Growth was witnessed across all major divisions of the company.
Operating income (on an adjusted basis) climbed 14.9% year over year to $2 billion in the reported quarter. Also, operating margin expanded to 11.5% from 11.1% in fourth-quarter fiscal 2017.
Quarterly revenues at FedEx Express (including TNT Express) improved 9% to $9.60 billion on the back of better yields across the global portfolio of package and freight services besides higher freight pounds.
Operating income (adjusted, excluding TNT Express integration expenses) came in at $1.10 billion, up 13% year over year while operating margin increased to 11.5% year over year from 11% in the year-ago quarter.
FedEx Ground revenues increased 12% year over year to $4.80 billion in the period under consideration. A 6% rise in average daily package volume and higher base rates aided this segmental performance. Operating income came in at $832 million, up 18% while operating margin inched up 90 basis points (bps) to 17.3%.
FedEx Freight revenues jumped 16% year over year to $1.86 billion. Segmental revenues were benefited by 8% increase, each in revenue per shipment as well as average daily shipment. Also, the segment’s operating income surged 35% to $175 million. Plus, the operating margin expanded 130 bps to 9.4%.
Top & Bottom-Line Performance in Fiscal 2018
In fiscal 2018, the company reported earnings (on an adjusted basis) of $15.31 per share, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $15.13. The bottom line also improved significantly from the prior-year figure, courtesy of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Notably, the company received a benefit of $1.6 billion from the new tax law. Revenues rose 8.6% to $65.5 billion, outpacing the consensus mark of $65.4 billion.
During fiscal 2018, the company bought back 4.3 million shares for approximately $1 billion.
Bullish Fiscal 2019 Outlook
The company anticipates earnings per share (excluding pension adjustments and TNT Express integration expenses) of $17-$17.60 in fiscal 2019. The Zacks Consensus estimate for the same stands at $17.18. Additionally, the company projects approximately 9% increase in revenues while operating margin (excluding TNT Express integration expenses) is anticipated at around 8.5% (the recast fiscal 2018 operating margin is 7.8% excluding TNT Express integration expenses and certain other items). Further, the company expects effective tax rate of around 25% while capital expenses are estimated to be $5.6 billion, lower than $5.7 billion incurred in fiscal 2018.
FedEx’s fiscal 2019 results are likely to benefit from higher revenues as well as synergies drawn from the progress in TNT Express and FedEx Express integration. The company continues to focus on improving operating income by $1.2 to $1.5 billion at the FedEx Express segment in fiscal 2020 compared with that in fiscal 2017.
However, the mounting fears pertaining to a trade war are concerning and may hamper the free flow of goods between countries.
Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks
FedEx holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other top-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector include GATX Corporation (GATX - Free Report) , SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) and Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. (EXPD - Free Report) . While GATX and SkyWest carry a Zacks Rank of 2, Expeditors sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
In the past six months, shares of GATX and Expeditors have rallied more than 17% and 19%, respectively, while SkyWest stock has gained above 4%.
Today's Stocks from Zacks' Hottest Strategies
It's hard to believe, even for us at Zacks. But while the market gained +21.9% in 2017, our top stock-picking screens have returned +115.0%, +109.3%, +104.9%, +98.6%, and +67.1%.
And this outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. Over the years it has been remarkably consistent. From 2000 - 2017, the composite yearly average gain for these strategies has beaten the market more than 19X over. Maybe even more remarkable is the fact that we're willing to share their latest stocks with you without cost or obligation.
See Them Free>>