Heartland Express, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTLD) was the recipient of a large drop in short interest in the month of September. As of September 15th, there was short interest totalling 860,700 shares, a drop of 21.0% from the August 31st total of 1,090,000 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 422,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.0 days. Currently, 1.8% of the company’s stock are sold short.
A number of research firms have recently weighed in on HTLD. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Heartland Express from $16.00 to $17.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 21st. BidaskClub downgraded Heartland Express from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 23rd. Wolfe Research raised Heartland Express from an “underperform” rating to a “peer perform” rating in a research note on Friday, July 17th. TheStreet downgraded Heartland Express from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 22nd. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Heartland Express from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $23.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, September 8th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $21.67.
In other news, major shareholder Michael J. Gerdin sold 3,260,870 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.02, for a total transaction of $65,282,617.40. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 681,124 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,636,102.48. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Ann S. Gerdin Revocable Trust sold 489,130 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.02, for a total value of $9,792,382.60. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 681,124 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $13,636,102.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 43.00% of the company’s stock.
HTLD traded up $0.15 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $18.75. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 216,032 shares, compared to its average volume of 379,926. The stock has a market cap of $1.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.96 and a beta of 0.51. The company has a fifty day simple moving average of $20.12 and a 200 day simple moving average of $19.96. Heartland Express has a twelve month low of $15.65 and a twelve month high of $22.75.
Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 16th. The transportation company reported $0.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.14 by $0.10. The firm had revenue of $160.90 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $152.39 million. Heartland Express had a return on equity of 9.57% and a net margin of 10.23%. The company’s revenue was up 13.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.27 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Heartland Express will post 0.82 earnings per share for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 21st will be issued a $0.02 dividend. This represents a $0.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.43%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 18th. Heartland Express’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 8.99%.
About Heartland Express
Heartland Express, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a short-to-medium haul truckload carrier in the United States and Canada. The company primarily provides nationwide asset-based dry van truckload service for shippers from Washington to Florida and New England to California; and temperature-controlled truckload services.
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