Heartland Express (Nasdaq: HTLD) reported earnings on Oct. 12. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Sep. 30 (Q3), Heartland Express missed slightly on revenues and missed estimates on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased slightly and GAAP earnings per share dropped significantly.

Margins contracted across the board.

Revenue details
Heartland Express booked revenue of $135.0 million. The 13 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ predicted sales of $137.2 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 1.9% higher than the prior-year quarter's $132.5 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.14. The 16 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.18 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.14 for Q3 were 18% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.17 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 31.8%, 50 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 13.3%, 50 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 9.2%, 240 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $136.0 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.16.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $546.0 million. The average EPS estimate is $0.71.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 76 members out of 84 rating the stock outperform, and eight members rating it underperform. Among 24 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 21 give Heartland Express a green thumbs-up, and three give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Heartland Express is hold, with an average price target of $14.86.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Heartland Express. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.