The U.S. trucking industry looks set to make a complete rebound in 2021, as it continues to recover from the worst of the pandemic seen last year. Notably, FTR Transportation Intelligence stated that in 2021, truck loadings are estimated to increase about 5% following an estimated contraction of about 4% in 2020, as quoted in a Heavy Duty Trucking article. Such a scenario is sure to be beneficial for trucking companies as well as truck manufacturers.
Moreover, the FTR’s Vice President of trucking, Avery Vise said in the report that increasing spot rates were largely responsible for the mildly higher rates in 2020 but contract rates are expected to lead in 2021, witnessing a gain of around 10% across all segments.
The article also mentioned that in the third quarter, consumers spent a major share of the government financial support on goods rather than services as the pandemic led to a halt in services such as travel and outside entertainment. The higher spending on goods benefited trucking.
In fact, the recovery seems to be continuing as the American Trucking Associations (“ATA”) reported that its Truck Tonnage Index rose 7.4% in December 2020, following a revised increase of 3.2% in November. Notably, ATA’s Chief Economist, Bob Costello stated that this was the index’s highest monthly gain since June 2020. Strong consumption, restocking of retail inventory and robust single-family home construction aided freight in registering the robust gains, he said.
Meanwhile, spot truckload freight volume also increased in December. Per DAT Freight & Analytics, the DAT Truckload Volume Index — which measures dry van, refrigerated and flatbed loads moved by truckload carriers — increased 2.5% in December on a month-over-month basis and 17% year over year.
Notably, the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine among the majority of the U.S. population will be instrumental in ensuring that the rebound in the trucking sector continues. In fact, as mentioned in a Transport Topics article, Costello said that the vaccine will help in returning to the old normal. This means that sectors like services and manufacturing, which have been affected by the pandemic, can rebound and in turn lead to more freight.
4 Stocks to Watch Now
The U.S. trucking sector seems poised to continue its recovery from the lows of the pandemic with truck loadings set to increase in 2021. This makes it a good time to look at trucking companies as well as truck manufacturers, which can make the most of this development going forward. Notably, we have selected four such stocks that carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
ArcBest Corporation ARCB provides freight transportation services and integrated logistics solutions worldwide. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 5.2% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 18.3%.
Marten Transport, Ltd. MRTN operates as a temperature-sensitive truckload carrier for shippers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 3.2% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 15.5%.
P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. PTSI, through its subsidiaries, operates as a truckload transportation and logistics company in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 1.9% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 21.8%.
PACCAR Inc PCAR designs, manufactures, and distributes light, medium, and heavy-duty commercial trucks in the United States, Europe, and internationally. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 5.8% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 52.4%.
5 Stocks Set to Double
Each was hand-picked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2020. Each comes from a different sector and has unique qualities and catalysts that could fuel exceptional growth.
Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.
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