What happened 

Shares of Wabash National Corporation (NYSE:WNC) jumped 10.1% in April, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the company reported its first-quarter 2017 results. 

So what 

Wabash reported a 19% decline in revenue to $363 million and a 27% drop in net income to $20.2 million, or $0.32 per share. But investors were looking beyond the quarter, to full-year guidance of earnings of $1.44-$1.56 per share on shipments of 52,00-56,000 new trailers, 1,000 more than previous guidance. 

Truck driving on a highway at sunset.

Image source: Getty Images.

Investors had expected a decrease in shipments in 2017 after a record 2016 that saw 60,000 new trailers shipped. And in that scenario, even seemingly bad earnings can cause a pop in a stock like Wabash National. 

Now what 

Despite a down year, Wabash National's shares are trading at 14 times the top end of earnings estimates, even after last month's pop. Also, the trailer business shouldn't be in for as much disruption as trucking in general, with new self-driving technologies on the horizon. In fact, we could see shipping via truck become more economical with self-driving trucks, which would be good news for Wabash National's financial performance in the long run. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.