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Shares of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. fell after hours on Tuesday after the trucking and transportation-services provider reported third-quarter results that missed Wall Street’s expectations, amid continued lower shipping demand.

The company reported net income of $187.4 million, or $1.80 a share, compared with $269.4 million, or $2.57 a share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue fell to $3.16 billion, compared with $3.84 billion in the prior-year quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected the company to report earnings per share of $1.83, on revenue of $3.17 billion.

Shares fell 1.8% after hours on Tuesday.

J.B. Hunt
JBHT,
-0.39%

owns its own trucks and trailers, offers services that link trucking and rail transportation, and services that match businesses shipping things with companies that ship them.

The company reported results after sometimes-tense labor negotiations at United Parcel Service Inc.
UPS,
+0.34%

and the major railroad operators, as well as the bankruptcy of trucking company Yellow. Those events have altered the contours of the trucking market and led to speculation over who might benefit.

But analysts say shipping demand remains subdued, as retailers stay cautious on what products they order — and have shipped to stores — due to hesitant consumers still navigating higher prices, at least for basics like groceries. The weaker demand for all the other things that the trucking and rail industries ship has left trailers sparse and prices lower.

“In short, truckload is still long capacity and short pricing power into 2024,” Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Bascome Majors said in a research note this month.

“Against that backdrop,” Majors continued, “we believe management teams and investors are coming to terms with a ‘lower for longer’ reality and expect 2024 consensus forecasts to fall materially into and out of earnings season.”


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