Heartland Express reports its Q3 earnings jumped 26% year-over-year to US$18.3M, says revenue improved on tighter industry capacity, higher freight rates that appear to be stabilizing

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa , October 20, 2010 () – Trucking company Heartland Express Inc. said its third-quarter profit increased 26 percent, aided by strong growth in operating revenue.

But the company warned that an increase in freight demand has leveled off from where it was in the second quarter and continues to lag dramatically behind what it was before the recession.

Its shares fell 12 cents to $14.77 on Wednesday.

Heartland said net income rose to $18.3 million, or 20 cents a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with net income of $14.5 million, or 16 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter.

Operating revenue increased about 12 percent to $127.2 million from $113.4 million a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected, on average, earnings of 18 cents a share on about $130 million in revenue.

The company said its revenue continued to improve due to tighter industry capacity. It also noted that freight rates have increased this year since reaching bottom in the third quarter last year and appear to be stabilizing.

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