Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) Reaches New 12-Month Low at $15.97

Shares of Heartland Express, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTLD) hit a new 52-week low during trading on Wednesday . The stock traded as low as $15.97 and last traded at $16.07, with a volume of 290129 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $16.24.

HTLD has been the subject of several research analyst reports. Stifel Nicolaus initiated coverage on shares of Heartland Express in a research report on Monday, June 21st. They set a “buy” rating for the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised shares of Heartland Express from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $20.00 price target for the company in a research report on Thursday, July 1st. TheStreet lowered shares of Heartland Express from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Friday, June 18th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Heartland Express from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 21st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat, Heartland Express presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $21.17.

The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $16.77 and its 200-day moving average price is $17.96. The company has a market cap of $1.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.86 and a beta of 0.54.

Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) last released its quarterly earnings data on Sunday, July 18th. The transportation company reported $0.26 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.26. The company had revenue of $154.10 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $165.27 million. Heartland Express had a net margin of 11.66% and a return on equity of 10.01%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 4.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.24 earnings per share. As a group, analysts predict that Heartland Express, Inc. will post 0.99 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, September 1st will be paid a $0.02 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 31st. This represents a $0.08 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.50%. Heartland Express’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 9.20%.

Heartland Express declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Friday, August 20th that permits the company to repurchase 3,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization permits the transportation company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Squarepoint Ops LLC purchased a new position in shares of Heartland Express in the first quarter valued at $240,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Heartland Express by 48.3% in the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 30,818 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $603,000 after purchasing an additional 10,036 shares during the period. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its stake in shares of Heartland Express by 65.0% in the first quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 26,327 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $515,000 after purchasing an additional 10,371 shares during the period. UBS Group AG boosted its stake in shares of Heartland Express by 339.1% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 30,982 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $607,000 after purchasing an additional 23,927 shares during the period. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund boosted its stake in shares of Heartland Express by 6.7% in the first quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 54,500 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $1,067,000 after purchasing an additional 3,400 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 56.07% of the company’s stock.

Heartland Express Company Profile (NASDAQ:HTLD)

Heartland Express, Inc is a holding company, which engages in the provision of short-to-medium haul truckload carrier services. It offers long haul truckload and regional truckload transportation. The company was founded by Russell A. Gerdin in 1978 and is headquartered in North Liberty, IA.

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