Universal Logistics Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: ULH) is projecting lower second-quarter earnings, just the latest trucking operation indicating it will fall short of analysts' expectations in a challenging business environment.

The Michigan-based asset-light provider anticipates earnings per diluted share in the range of 31 cents to 35 cents, compared to results of 44 per share in second quarter 2015. The forecast compares to one of 37 cents per share based on a consensus estimate from Zacks Investment Research.

Universal also expects to report income from operations in the range of $16.2 million to $18.1 million, on total operating revenues anticipated to range from $271 million to $281 million. This compares to $22.9 million of operating income in the second quarter of 2015 on revenues totaling $295 million.

The company says it expects better financial results than it reported for the first quarter, but it notes the challenging freight market has "put downward pressure on total top-line operating revenues and operating income when compared to the same period last year."

"We will continue to focus on maintaining market share, executing our sales strategy and controlling costs as we manage through this difficult freight environment," said Universal CEO Jeff Rogers.

Both Covenant Transportation Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CVTI) and Werner Enterprises Inc. (NASDAQ: WERN) said in late June they were reducing earnings expectations for the second quarter due a weaker freight market.

Stifel Transportation & Logistics Research Group released a report on Thursday saying a strong dollar, low energy prices, bloated inventories, mediocre consumer spending, and weak capital investment are all weighing on overall freight markets.

About the author
Evan Lockridge

Evan Lockridge

Former Business Contributing Editor

Trucking journalist since 1990, in the news business since early ‘80s.

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