What happened

YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ:YRCW) operates semi-truck tractor-trailers, but that didn't stop its stock from turning into a train wreck after reporting earnings Thursday evening. YRC Worldwide said it earned $0.04 per share "adjusted" for one-time items, but investors aren't happy with that equivocation, and are selling off the stock hard -- it's down 18.4% as of 11 a.m. EST Friday.

So what

"Pro forma" profits notwithstanding, when calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), it turns out YRC didn't actually earn anything in Q4, but rather lost $0.23 per diluted share. This was despite the company booking 5% more revenues in Q4 2017 than it had in Q4 2016 -- $1.2 billion.

For the full year, YRC reported sales of $4.9 billion, up 4% year over year, and lost $0.33 per share on the bottom line.

A flipped over semi-truck on the side off the road.

YRC Worldwide ran a bit off track in Q4. Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Commenting on his company's prospects for the rest of this year, YRC CEO James Welch said, "As we enter 2018, positive pricing and demand trends suggest the outlook for the trucking industry remains positive."

Despite that, YRC gave no specific guidance for whether it expects to benefit from these trends, and what it expects to earn this year -- if anything. Instead, Welch simply said he is "excited about 2018" and expressed a hope that YRC management will be able to "improve the business."

For what it's worth, analysts who follow the company are predicting that YRC Worldwide will lose money again in this year's first fiscal quarter ending in March, but end the year back in the black with a $1.65-per-share profit.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.