FedEx Earnings Beat Estimates

Memphis-based FedEx (NYSE: FDX  ) shares closed the day up more than 5% after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings on Wednesday.

Earnings per share of $1.53 in the company's fiscal Q1 2014 report exceeded analyst estimates by three cents, and were up 5.5% from last year's Q1 earnings of $1.45 per share. Revenues of $11 billion narrowly exceeded expectations, and worked out to a 2% increase over last year's number. Operating profit margins on those revenues, of 7.2%, were up 30 basis points over the year-ago level.

In its report, FedEx highlighted increases in both revenue and earnings that were "driven by solid performance at each of the company's transportation segments." In that regard, FedEx Express posted a slight revenue decline, but grew operating profit margins 50 basis points to 3.6%, resulting in a 14% increase in operating profit.

FedEx Ground revenues were up 11%. Despite a 100-basis point decline in operating profit margin, this resulted in a 5% increase in operating profit. Finally, FedEx Freight revenue growth matched the company's overall 2% rate. With profit margins unchanged, total operating profit here increased approximately 1%.

Looking forward, FedEx reaffirmed its full-year projection of 7% to 13% adjusted earnings growth. Hitting this target will be made easier by:

  • a 4.5% increase in rates at FedEx Freight that went into effect July 1, 2013;
  • a 3.9% increase in shipping rates at FedEx Express, scheduled to begin January 6, 2014;
  • and increased rates at FedEx Ground and FedEx SmartPost, the sizes of which will be announced later this year and will go into effect sometime next year.

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