NEWS: Heartland Express Inc.'s third-quarter earnings climbed 28 percent as the trucking company benefited from a change in how it accounts for the declining value of its fleet and other equipment.
DETAILS: Effective July 1, Heartland switched to an accounting method that assigns the highest depreciation value to its tractors during the first year and then gradually wanes in ensuing years. This tactic differs from the accounting formula used by most of Heartland's peers, but the North Liberty, Iowa, company believes its approach provides a more accurate measurement of its trucks' value while they are still in use. The accounting adjustment boosted Heartland's operating income by $2.1 million during the third quarter, a three-month span ending in September.
NUMBERS: Heartland earned $15.9 million, or 19 cents per share, up from $12.4 million, or 14 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue declined 3 percent from last year to $130.6 million as Heartland grappled with government regulations that curtailed the company's hours of service. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had projected earnings of 19 cents per share on revenue of $133.8 million.
FUTURE: The company didn't forecast how it will fare in the current quarter.
STOCK: Shares of the company edged up by 9 cents to $14.22 in afternoon trading. The stock hit its 52-week high of $15.09 in August is up 6.2 percent for the year to date. It touched its 52-week low of $12.43 in December.