NEW YORK — Shares of trucking operator Heartland Express Inc. rose Monday after investment firm Robert W. Baird upgraded the stock, saying conditions in the freight industry are improving.
Baird analyst Jon A. Langenfeld raised his rating on the stock to “Outperform” from “Neutral,” saying prices and fundamentals in the truckload-shipping industry had shown slight improvement since midsummer. He said positive signs included gains in fourth-quarter expedited freight demand, seasonal demand and lean inventories.
Langenfeld said he expects modest improvement in the first half of this year, with “more meaningful momentum” in the second half. He also said Heartland’s strong balance sheet will let it boost earnings through acquisitions in coming years.
Heartland, based in North Liberty, Iowa, specializes in hauling merchandise, such as appliances and consumer goods, short and medium distances
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