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JB Hunt misses quarterly estimates on weaker-than-expected demand at biggest segment

Published 04/16/2024, 04:56 PM
Updated 04/16/2024, 05:03 PM
© Reuters.

(Reuters) - U.S. trucking firm JB Hunt (NASDAQ:JBHT) Transport Services missed Wall Street estimates for first-quarter results on Tuesday, hurt by a decline in revenue in its biggest segment and pricing pressures at its brokerage business.

Shares of the company were down more than 5% in extended trading.

JB Hunt's biggest segment, intermodal, which involves shipping goods via two or more modes of transportation, saw a 9% decline in revenue in the quarter ended March 31, while the segment's volume was flat versus the same period in 2023.

Freight companies in the United States have been seeing weaker transport volumes as sticky inflation keeps the consumer spending low on new goods.

"Overall demand for our domestic intermodal service offering in the quarter was weaker than expected, partially attributable to competition from over-the-road truck options in the eastern network," the company said.

JB Hunt's integrated capacity solutions (ICS) unit, which provides freight brokerage services, posted an operating loss of $17.5 million in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $5.4 million a year earlier, owing to lower contractual and transactional rates and changes in customer freight mix.

Excessive capacity in the market forces spot rates to inch downwards, hurting profit for businesses such as ICS, which connects shippers to truckers.

The Arkansas-based company's net earnings fell 35% to $1.22 per share in the quarter. Analysts on average estimated earnings per share of $1.52 per share, according to LSEG data.

Its total operating revenue fell 9% to $2.94 billion, also missing analysts' estimate of $3.12 billion.

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