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January 23, 2007 9:15 AM, EST

Analysts See Downturn in 4Q Trucking Company Earnings

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Analysts expect mostly lackluster fourth-quarter earnings from trucking companies, since the industry's annual peak season never materialized and demand further waned amid a general economic slowdown, the Associated Press reported.Often a predictor of the economy, the fortunes of trucking companies usually appear lowest just before the lowest point in an economic cycle, AP reported. Analysts do not foresee a recovery in trucking until the second half of this year, AP said.Truckload carriers could report particularly depressed results, as pricing power diminished alongside demand, AP reported. Truckload carrier Werner Enterprises reported lower fourth-quarter earnings late Monday. (Click here for previous coverage.)Covenant Transport said it expects to post a loss in the fourth quarter, due mainly to weak demand around the holidays. (Click here for previous coverage.)USA Truck Inc. said last month that its earnings would be sharply lower than last year because of weak demand during the holidays. (Click here for previous coverage.)