Heartland Express, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTLD) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Heartland Express, Inc. is a leader in transportation and logistics. Heartland Express provides collaborative truckload transportation service that enables companies to deliver exceptional service across their transportation network to improve customer satisfaction. The company provides truckload transportation service to virtually all markets east of the Rocky Mountains at any length of haul. Heartland Express transports a variety of goods, including automotive parts, consumer goods, paper and plastic products, retail goods, and packaged foodstuffs. The company serves the truckload transportation needs of the top shippers in America. Heartland operates in the United States and is headquartered in North Liberty, IA. “

HTLD has been the topic of a number of other research reports. BidaskClub downgraded Heartland Express from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Robert W. Baird reissued a “hold” rating and set a $26.00 price target on shares of Heartland Express in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Stifel Nicolaus raised Heartland Express from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price target for the stock from $22.00 to $28.00 in a research report on Friday, September 29th. Morgan Stanley reissued an “underweight” rating on shares of Heartland Express in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co increased their price target on Heartland Express from $19.00 to $21.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $23.29.

Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The transportation company reported $0.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.17 by ($0.08). Heartland Express had a return on equity of 9.58% and a net margin of 8.54%. The firm had revenue of $182.10 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $205.81 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.15 EPS. Heartland Express’s quarterly revenue was up 22.0% compared to the same quarter last year.

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In related news, EVP John P. Cosaert sold 7,146 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $22.54, for a total transaction of $161,070.84. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 57,668 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,299,836.72. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 42.10% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Stevens Capital Management LP bought a new stake in Heartland Express during the third quarter valued at about $278,000. Fortaleza Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in Heartland Express by 38.6% during the third quarter. Fortaleza Asset Management Inc. now owns 10,500 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $263,000 after purchasing an additional 2,925 shares in the last quarter. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. bought a new stake in Heartland Express during the third quarter valued at about $238,000. Dean Capital Management boosted its position in Heartland Express by 137.7% during the second quarter. Dean Capital Management now owns 215,880 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $4,495,000 after purchasing an additional 125,060 shares in the last quarter. Finally, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company boosted its position in Heartland Express by 4.6% during the second quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 38,365 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $799,000 after purchasing an additional 1,704 shares in the last quarter. 60.13% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Heartland Express

Heartland Express, Inc is a holding company. The Company is a short-to-medium haul truckload carrier. The Company focuses primarily on short- to medium-haul, asset-based dry van truckload services in regional markets near its terminals. The Company’s truckload services are primarily asset-based transportation services in the dry van truckload market, and it also offers truckload temperature-controlled transportation services and non-asset based brokerage services.

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Analyst Recommendations for Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD)

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