What happened

Shares of XPO Logistics (NYSE:XPO) briefly spiked 10% on Thursday after the transportation and logistics company surprised markets with a midday earnings release.

So what

XPO was expected to release earnings after markets closed on Thursday, but trading in the stock was halted around 1:20 p.m. EST, and the company's third-quarter report came out about 10 minutes later.

The circumstances were odd, but it's hard to argue with the results. XPO reported third-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.84 per share on revenue of $4.22 billion, easily surpassing consensus expectations of $0.40 per share on $3.85 billion in revenue.

An XPO sorting and distribution center.

Image source: XPO Logistics.

XPO has built a large business helping retailers handle warehousing and fulfillment, and the company's results show it is a big beneficiary of the pandemic-induced growth in e-commerce. Last-mile revenue grew by 11% year over year. Truck brokerage revenue was up 27%, in part thanks to the company's software that helps connect drivers to shippers.

"Supply chain outsourcing is accelerating, and e-commerce continues to be a huge tailwind for us, particularly in contract logistics and last mile," CEO Brad Jacobs said in a statement. "Our XPO Connect technology is a major driver of these results -- all of our non-asset transportation services now use this powerful platform to manage their freight movements."

Now what

Releasing earnings while the markets are open is rare, and it likely led investors to at least initially believe there could be another announcement forthcoming. Prior to the pandemic, XPO had been shopping various business units and is thought to have restarted some of those processes, meaning the markets could have expected a divestiture announcement.

Perhaps we'll learn more about what happened when management holds a call with investors Friday morning, but for now the results are speaking for themselves, and investors are sending the shares higher as a result.

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