Despite high operating expenses, Landstar System (LSTR - Free Report) is a stock that investors must retain in their portfolios owing to the below-mentioned tailwinds.
The company has performed impressively in the first nine months of the year owing to an upbeat freight scenario, thereby causing a rise in the demand for its services. Revenues in the first nine months of 2018 increased 32% year over year, owing to an increase in the number of loads hauled and a substantial rise in revenues per load across all modes.
With buoyant freight scenario still in place, we expect the company to perform well in the final quarter of 2018 as well. For the fourth quarter, revenues are estimated in the range of $1.180-$1.230 billion, reflecting an increase of 12-17% from the comparable period of 2017. Further, earnings per share are projected between $1.56 and $1.62 in the final quarter of 2018 compared with $1.54 reported in fourth-quarter 2017. Notably, the company has an encouraging earnings history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters, with average of 1.8%.
Landstar also has a sound financial position, as is evident from its measures to reward shareholders through dividends and share buybacks. The company hiked its dividend twice in 2018. In January, the company raised its dividend by 50% to 15 cents per share. The same was further increased to 16.5 cents in July, reflecting a hike of 10%. With regard to buyback, the company currently has 2 million shares to be bought back under the existing share repurchase program.
Also, Landstar’s trailing 12-month return on equity (ROE) underlines its growth potential. The company’s ROE of 33.8% compares favorably with the industry’s 12.6%, reflecting efficiency in using its shareholders’ funds.
Owing to these tailwinds, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s full-year earnings has been upwardly revised by 3 cents in the past 90 days. Additionally, the company flaunts an impressive VGM Score of A. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum, and the score is a weighted combination of all these three scores.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Landstar currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector are United Continental Holdings (UAL - Free Report) , Spirit Airlines (SAVE - Free Report) and Frontline Ltd. (FRO - Free Report) . While United Continental holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Spirit and Frontline both flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Shares of United Continental, Spirit and Frontline have rallied more than 24%, 29% and 20%, respectively, in 2018.
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