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12/21/2010 11:10:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Trucking Industry Stocks Ride Wave of Second-Half Profitability in 2010

By Jonathan S. Reiskin, Associate News Editor

This story appears in the Dec. 20 & 27 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Most trucking stocks joined a rising stock market through the second half of 2010, counteracting a jittery first half, as profits climbed at the majority of publicly traded carriers.

Most companies followed on the Transport Topics Transportation Stocks Table posted price increases relative to the end of 2009. Publicly traded carriers mainly reported higher revenue, freight rates and earnings.

Trucking companies that survived 2009 were able to benefit from modest economic growth and less competition because of the wave of carrier closings that extended into this year.

Major stock indexes — including the Standard & Poor’s 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite — advanced for the first two weeks of the year, tumbled for a month, then rose crisply through April when worries about Greek debt caused a plunge that lasted until just before the Fourth of July.

Since then the big three indexes appreciated by about 20% each into early December (6-28, p. 1), although there was a temporary retreat in August related to news of a sluggish domestic economy.

Three stock indexes for transportation companies — the Dow Jones Transportation Average and the S&P and Dow trucking indexes — all had patterns similar to the broad-based, major stock indexes.

The second-half rise was a siren’s song that pulled several trucking companies toward public markets.

New Century Transportation, Westampton, N.J., and Panther Expedited Services, Seville, Ohio, filed S-1 registrations with the Securities and Exchange Commission in August, saying they would like to go public. Panther is an expedited carrier and New Century describes itself as a less-than-truckload/expedited hybrid.

Swift Transportation Co., Phoenix, the nation’s second-largest truckload carrier and No. 10 overall on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada, also moved to return to the public sector.

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