Shares of The Shyft Group (NASDAQ: SHYF), an automotive company specializing in the manufacture of commercial delivery vans, and particularly vans designed to facilitate e-commerce deliveries, soared a staggering 14.1% in Friday trading after Reuters reported that the biggest e-commerce company on the block is placing a big order with Shyft.
As Reuters explained, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is ordering 2,200 of Shyft's "Utilimaster" walk-in delivery vans. Indeed, according to the news organization, the order was apparently placed last year, and at least some of Shyft's trucks are already in Amazon's possession and have been "seen recently operating in Chicago."
And yet...if this sale actually happened last year, it's worth asking why Shyft stock is only reacting to the purchase today. Perhaps the reason is because "the branded trucks have been parked for months in locations around the United States, including in Amazon lots in New Jersey and California dairy country," as Reuters reports. Amazon apparently waited months "to roll out the new fleet," and perhaps the sale wasn't finalized until just recently?
Alternatively, it's possible that Amazon's relationship simply wasn't widely understood before today. A March article in the Greater Fort Wayne (Indiana) Business Weekly newspaper mentions how Shyft was then utilizing a new facility for "a large Amazon field service project" but did not mention any 2,200-truck sale to the e-commerce leader -- a deal of sufficient size that you might expect it would be mentioned...if anyone knew about it.
A second item -- a press release from Shyft dated June 2019 (back when the company was known as Spartan Motors) -- does describe the sale of 2,237 vans to a "leading North American online e-commerce and fulfillment company" but doesn't actually come out and name Amazon.
All of which goes to show: Maybe the market really is "efficient" and really does price all available information into the stock prices of the companies affected by that information. But if the information isn't yet "out there," or isn't entirely clear, investors still have the capacity to be surprised.
In the case of Shyft investors today -- pleasantly surprised.