Why Shares of United Rentals, Inc. Jumped 11% Today

Third-quarter earnings showed some positive signs investors weren't expecting.

Travis Hoium
Travis Hoium
Oct 22, 2015 at 1:39PM

What: Shares of United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) jumped as much as 11% today after the company reported third-quarter results.

So what: Revenue rose slightly to $1.55 billion and net income increased 12% to $215 million, or $2.25 per share. After adjusting for one-time items, earnings were $2.57 per share, which easily surpassed analyst estimates of $2.35 per share. 

Management also reaffirmed full year guidance of $5.8 billion to $5.9 billion in revenue, $2.80 billion to $2.85 billion in adjusted EBITDA, and $725 million to $775 million of free cash flow.

Now what: Earnings were better than expected, but there are actually some strong headwinds management is working through. Oil and gas demand is down year over year as the energy industry struggles, and as a result utilization fell 1.5% year over year.

I think management is handling the company well in a weak demand environment, which should set United Rentals up for steady growth in the future. With shares trading for about nine times free cash flow, I think this is a nice value for investors even after today's pop.