What happened

Shares of trucker YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ:YRCW) jackknifed today -- down 25% as of 2:40 p.m. EDT after the company reported third-quarter 2018 sales that matched consensus estimates, paired with earnings that fell far short.

Heading into Q3, analysts had been looking for YRC to report $1.3 billion in sales and $0.55 per share in earnings. YRC nailed the revenue target, but its earnings for the quarter were just $0.09 per share (or $0.13, if you pay any attention to pro forma earnings).

Truck rolling downhill

YRC stock is rolling downhill today, but investors may want to tap the brakes once they see the cash it's bringing in. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Even aside from "missing earnings," YRC's news was pretty downbeat. Sales may have met expectations, for example, but they were still up only 4% year over year. Earnings flatlined despite the greater sales, showing no growth whatsoever in comparison to last year's Q3.

About the only good news in the quarter -- and this is good news -- is that free cash flow at the company still looks pretty good (at least when compared to net income). For the first nine months of this year, YRC has generated $65.5 million in cash profit. That's much better than the $4.2 million in cash YRC had burned through by this point last year. It's also much better than the mere $2.7 million in GAAP profits that YRC has reported so far this year.

Now what

YRC Worldwide management did not provide new guidance for what it expects to earn next quarter. That being said, were one to run-rate out YRC's FCF number through the rest of this year, it appears that YRC would be on course to generate positive free cash flow of more than $87 million this year. Weighed against the company's $1 billion enterprise value, that would work out to a pretty cheap EV/FCF ratio of 11.5.

If this is how things play out, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find YRC stock -- down so much today -- bounce right back up again come year end.

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.