USA Truck (USAK) to Report Q1 Earnings: What's in Store?

USA Truck USAK is scheduled to report first-quarter 2021 results on Apr 29, after market closes. The company boasts a stellar surprise history with its earnings having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters in excess of 100%, on average. Moreover, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter 2021 earnings has been revised 14.3% upward over the past 60 days.

USA Truck, Inc.

Price and EPS Surprise

USA Truck, Inc. price-eps-surprise | USA Truck, Inc. Quote

Against this backdrop, let’s discuss the factors that might have impacted USA Truck’s performance in the March quarter. We expect the company’s first-quarter performance to have been hurt by driver shortages, thereby resulting in reduced truck capacity. Unfavorable weather conditions in February are also likely to have dented the quarterly performance.

Despite such adversities, the company’s cost-control efforts are likely to have boosted its bottom line in the March quarter. Due to this cost discipline, adjusted operating ratio (operating expenses as a % of revenues) is likely to have improved sequentially in the to-be-reported quarter. Moreover, the gradual opening up of the U.S. economy led to increased economic activities, which in turn, might have inflated operating revenues at both the trucking and USAT Logistics segments owing to higher demand.

With strong e-commerce demand, thanks to the coronavirus that is keeping people homebound, this trucking company is likely to have experienced a significant increase in freight volumes during the first quarter of 2021.

What Does the Zacks Model Say?

The proven Zacks model does not predict an earnings beat for USA Truck this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the chances of beating estimates, which is not the case here as elaborated below. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Earnings ESP: USA Truck has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% as the Most Accurate Estimate is in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 16 cents per share. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter. Zacks Rank: USA Truck carries a Zacks Rank #3, currently.

Highlights of Q4 Earnings

USA Truck’s earnings of 70 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 36 cents.

Moreover, the bottom line surged 234.6% on a year-over-year basis. Operating revenues of £158.8 million also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of £147.4 million.

Stocks to Consider

Investors interested in the broader Transportation sector may consider JetBlue Airways Corporation JBLU, United Parcel Service UPS  and Expeditors International of Washington EXPD  as these stocks possess the right combination of elements to beat on earnings this reporting cycle. JetBlue Airways has an Earnings ESP of +3.79 and a Zacks Rank of 3, currently.

The company is set to release first-quarter 2021 earnings numbers on Apr 27. UPS has an Earnings ESP of +2.07% and a Zacks Rank of 3 at present. The company will release first-quarter 2021 results on Apr 27.

Expeditors has an Earnings ESP of +4.00% and is Zacks #3 Ranked, presently. The company will release first-quarter 2021 results on May 4.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.