NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Arkansas Best Corp. tumbled Friday, after the trucking company reported fourth-quarter results that fell well short of Wall Street predictions.
THE SPARK: The holding company for the ABF group of freight carriers posted a profit of $1.4 million, or 5 cents per share, up from a loss of $3.1 million, or 12 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
Excluding a charge of 3 cents per share related to a pension settlement, the company posted an adjusted profit of 8 cents per share for the recent quarter.
Revenue rose 5 percent to $463.2 million.
Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 24 cents per share on $471.3 million in revenue, according to a FactSet poll.
THE BIG PICTURE: Fort Smith, Ark.-based Arkansas Best credited its improved results to a better business environment during the quarter.
The company's revenue per day rose 4.9 percent over the same quarter last year, while it's tonnage hauled per day fell 7.6 percent.
THE ANALYSIS: Morgan Keegan analyst Art Hatfield backed his "Outperform" rating and $43 price target for the company, saying that, despite the earnings miss, it's still a good investment.
"The company has one of the highest leverage profiles in the less-than-truckload group and as tonnage comes back, (as we expect it to), the significant strides on pricing that the company has made and continues to make will drive further improvements in the operating ratio and ultimately drive significant earnings back through the model," Hatfield wrote in a note to investors.
THE SHARES: Arkansas Best shares fell $3.37, or 15 percent, to $19.13 after dropping as low as $18.68 earlier in the day.