FedEx Flies

Fresh off of a quarterly loss, transport tsar and Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation FedEx (NYSE: FDX  ) seems poised to rebound strongly in fiscal 2009 -- the stock already has risen 6% in less than 48 hours.

Why?
According to new guidance released earlier this week, when FedEx releases fiscal Q1 results next week, it will report profits per diluted share of $1.23 -- far above its previous expectation of a buck per share, and fully 37% higher than the midpoint of its previous guidance range.

(No word yet on whether UPS (NYSE: UPS  ) is sharing in FedEx's good fortune, but according to analysts at JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , what helps FedEx is likely to help UPS as well.)

And just what is it that's helping FedEx? In a word: oil. As you may have heard, the price per barrel of the sticky black stuff is headed down, and that's good news for everybody who burns its various derivations. FedEx in particular credits "lower-than-expected fuel costs late in the quarter" for much of its greater-than-expected profit.

Good news, bad news
And yet, it's not all peaches and cream down in Memphis. (UPS, though, being based in Georgia, may be able to help out with the peaches.) Despite raising guidance for the first fiscal quarter, FedEx held its full-year guidance steady at $4.75 to $5.25 per diluted share, warning of a risk that "weaker macroeconomic conditions offset better-than-expected first quarter results."

CEOs like McGraw-Hill's (NYSE: MHP  ) Harold McGraw and Home Depot's Frank Blake can talk all they want about being able to "see the bottom" today. But home builders like Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL  ) are still reporting losses, and plenty of other companies are predicting more pain to come.

Foolish takeaway
With the economy weak and recovery uncertain, kudos to FedEx for remembering to "curb our enthusiasm" over its short-term profits revival, and reminding investors that the long-term outlook remains murky. And as for the traders who jumped on the short-term outlook and ignored FedEx's cautious language about the future? They may rue the day.

Keep track of FedEx's recent earnings news in:

United Parcel Service and JPMorgan Chase are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. The McGraw-Hill Companies and The Home Depot are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. FedEx is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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