Arkansas Best Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of trucking company Arkansas Best (Nasdaq: ABFS  ) climbed as much as 11% in intraday trading Wednesday after announcing that its freight division will raise its general shipping rates by about 6.9%.

So what: Freight rates are obviously a big key to Arkansas Best's profitability, and given the market's positive reaction to the news, it's clear that investors expect the rate hikes to stick. In fact, today's double-digit jump -- coming on extraordinarily high volume -- is the biggest the shares have had since December 2009.

Now what: I wouldn't be so quick to ride this recent wave of momentum. While today's news suggests that shipping pricing remains favorable for now, Arkansas Best's highly cyclical nature and negative returns on capital don't exactly make it the best long-term opportunity. If you insist on getting into such a fiercely competitive space, industry champs FedEx (NYSE: FDX  ) and UPS (NYSE: UPS  ) are likely the better bets.

Interested in more info on Arkansas Best? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of FedEx. The Fool owns shares of FedEx and UPS. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.


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  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2011, at 5:45 PM, Dougrc wrote:

    There was actually two major events that fueled this jump in value, one, the general rate increase that you mentioned, and the one that actually threw fuel on the fire. ABF's lawsuit against the Teamsters and YRCW was sent back to circuit court by the federal appeals court and allowed to continue. The actual ruling contained some fairly plain language that gives the lawsuit merit where the original Judge refused to acknowledge any merit in the plaintiff's argument.

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