Stifel Nicolaus upgraded shares of Heartland Express, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTLD) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. The firm currently has $28.00 target price on the transportation company’s stock, up from their prior target price of $22.00.

Other analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. BidaskClub cut Heartland Express from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 19th. UBS AG raised Heartland Express from a sell rating to a neutral rating and raised their target price for the stock from $20.00 to $22.00 in a research report on Monday, July 10th. Zacks Investment Research raised Heartland Express from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $24.00 target price for the company in a research report on Friday, July 21st. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $24.00 target price on shares of Heartland Express in a research report on Sunday, September 17th. Finally, TheStreet raised Heartland Express from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research report on Thursday, September 7th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $23.20.

Heartland Express (NASDAQ HTLD) traded up 7.69% during trading on Friday, reaching $25.08. The company had a trading volume of 1,694,169 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.58 and a beta of 0.53. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $21.62 and a 200 day moving average price of $20.60. Heartland Express has a 12 month low of $17.06 and a 12 month high of $25.22.

Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The transportation company reported $0.18 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.19 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $129.62 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $139.89 million. Heartland Express had a return on equity of 10.60% and a net margin of 9.89%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 19.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.20 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Heartland Express will post $0.70 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, September 22nd will be given a dividend of $0.02 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 21st. This represents a $0.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.32%. Heartland Express’s payout ratio is 12.12%.

In related news, EVP John P. Cosaert sold 7,146 shares of Heartland Express stock in a transaction on Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $22.54, for a total transaction of $161,070.84. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 57,668 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,299,836.72. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 42.10% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its position in Heartland Express by 6.5% during the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 10,103,973 shares of the transportation company’s stock valued at $210,365,000 after purchasing an additional 620,252 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Heartland Express by 152,605.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,752,412 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $115,337,000 after buying an additional 5,748,645 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Heartland Express by 1.0% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,182,897 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $87,089,000 after buying an additional 41,514 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its position in shares of Heartland Express by 4.0% in the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,493,159 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $51,908,000 after buying an additional 96,332 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC acquired a new stake in shares of Heartland Express in the second quarter worth about $41,847,000. 60.91% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Heartland Express Company Profile

Heartland Express, Inc is a holding company. The Company is a short-to-medium haul truckload carrier. The Company focuses primarily on short- to medium-haul, asset-based dry van truckload services in regional markets near its terminals. The Company’s truckload services are primarily asset-based transportation services in the dry van truckload market, and it also offers truckload temperature-controlled transportation services and non-asset based brokerage services.

Analyst Recommendations for Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD)

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