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J.B. Hunt’s Q1 misses expectations

Volume declines, weaker yields drive earnings lower

J.B. Hunt's first quarter was reflective of a "freight recession," management said. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

J.B. Hunt Transport Services reported a worse-than-expected result Monday after the market closed. The transportation and logistics heavyweight pointed to weaker trends in its brokerage, intermodal and truckload divisions as the reason.

J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT) reported earnings per share of $1.89 in the 2023 first quarter, 40 cents lower year over year (y/y) and 12 cents light of the consensus estimate. A $6 million loss on the sale of equipment, compared to a $17 million gain in the year-ago quarter, and an 18% increase in interest expense were also headwinds.

Brokerage revenue fell 42% y/y to $385 million as loads were down 26% and revenue per load dropped 22%. The unit booked a $5.4 million operating loss, a nearly $30 million reversal from a year ago.

Link to full story – ‘Freight recession’ snares J.B. Hunt in Q1

Revenue in the TL segment declined 10% y/y to $206 million as an 8% increase in loads was more than offset by a 17% decline in revenue per load. The segment’s operating ratio fell more than 1,000 basis points to 97.6%.

Intermodal revenue declined 4% y/y to $1.54 billion as loads were off 5% and revenue per load increased 1% (flat excluding fuel surcharges). Improved network fluidity pushed average container turns nearly 5% higher y/y in the quarter, albeit on a fleet count that was 9% lower on average.

The bulk of the y/y declines in gains on sale occurred in the intermodal unit. The division booked an 89% OR, 160 bps worse y/y.

Shares of JBHT were down 1.8% in after-hours trading on Monday.

The company was hosting a conference call at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss results with analysts.

Stay tuned to FreightWaves for continuing coverage of J.B. Hunt’s earnings announcement.

Link to full story – ‘Freight recession’ snares J.B. Hunt in Q1

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Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.