Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Heartland Express, Inc. is a leader in transportation and logistics. Heartland Express provides collaborative truckload transportation service that enables companies to deliver exceptional service across their transportation network to improve customer satisfaction. The company provides truckload transportation service to virtually all markets east of the Rocky Mountains at any length of haul. Heartland Express transports a variety of goods, including automotive parts, consumer goods, paper and plastic products, retail goods, and packaged foodstuffs. The company serves the truckload transportation needs of the top shippers in America. Heartland operates in the United States and is headquartered in North Liberty, IA. “

Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Robert W. Baird restated a neutral rating and set a $21.00 target price (down from $22.00) on shares of Heartland Express in a report on Monday, May 17th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Heartland Express from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and set a $20.00 target price for the company in a report on Thursday, July 1st. Stifel Nicolaus started coverage on shares of Heartland Express in a report on Monday, June 21st. They set a buy rating for the company. Finally, TheStreet downgraded shares of Heartland Express from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a report on Friday, June 18th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $21.43.

NASDAQ:HTLD opened at $16.55 on Wednesday. The company’s 50-day simple moving average is $17.60. Heartland Express has a twelve month low of $16.22 and a twelve month high of $21.53. The stock has a market cap of $1.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.39 and a beta of 0.55.

Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) last posted its earnings results on Sunday, July 18th. The transportation company reported $0.26 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.26. Heartland Express had a net margin of 11.66% and a return on equity of 10.08%. The firm had revenue of $154.10 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $165.27 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.24 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts forecast that Heartland Express will post 0.98 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 1st. Investors of record on Monday, June 21st were given a $0.02 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, June 18th. This represents a $0.08 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.48%. Heartland Express’s dividend payout ratio is presently 9.20%.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. LexAurum Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Heartland Express during the first quarter valued at approximately $196,000. OLD National Bancorp IN acquired a new position in Heartland Express during the first quarter valued at approximately $202,000. The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. lifted its position in Heartland Express by 6.5% during the first quarter. The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 10,955 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $213,000 after buying an additional 667 shares in the last quarter. Jane Street Group LLC acquired a new position in Heartland Express during the first quarter valued at approximately $217,000. Finally, Stifel Financial Corp acquired a new position in Heartland Express during the first quarter valued at approximately $220,000. 57.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Heartland Express Company Profile

Heartland Express, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a short-to-medium haul truckload carrier in the United States and Canada. It primarily provides nationwide asset-based dry van truckload service for shippers from Washington to Florida and New England to California; and temperature-controlled truckload services.

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