J.B. Hunt Jumps as Outlook Shows ‘No Doom, No Gloom’ in Trucking

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(Bloomberg) -- J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. surged the most in six months as a company forecast eased investor concerns about a prolonged recession in the trucking industry.

Intermodal cargo volume will improve in the second half of 2019, reversing a slide in truckloads during the first six months of the year, J.B. Hunt told analysts on a conference call late Monday. That soothed concerns that the trucking industry’s slump would get worse.

“No doom, no gloom and a glimmer of hope,” Cowen & Co. analyst Jason Seidl said Tuesday in a note to clients about J.B. Hunt’s second-quarter earnings.

J.B. Hunt Jumps as Outlook Shows ‘No Doom, No Gloom’ in Trucking

The results also buoyed J.B. Hunt’s rivals after months of rising worry over truckers. Freight haulers have struggled this year from sluggish demand, after U.S.-China trade tensions last year prompted shippers to build up inventories of Chinese products ahead of potential tariffs. Truckers have also suffered from weakness in factory output, despite a better performance in that gauge last month.

J.B. Hunt jumped 8.4% to $100.39 at 10:44 a.m. in New York, the biggest gain on the S&P 500 Index, after surging as much as 9.3% for the most intraday since Jan. 18. Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc., Ryder Systems Inc. and XPO Logistics Inc. also advanced, as a Standard & Poor’s trucking index posted the biggest intraday gain in three years.

Truckers still face plenty of uncertainty. Truckload rates from a year earlier have declined every month since January. Truck tonnage fell 6.1% in May, cooling off after a large gain in April, according to the American Trucking Associations.

The earnings of Lowell, Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt results were “not bad, but not all that good either,” Allison Landry, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG, said in a report. She said she wasn’t convinced that trucking rates have bottomed.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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