Ryder Shares Downgraded Because of Weak Pricing and Commercial Rental Slump

After one analyst said he believes that weak pricing will continue to hurt logistics and truck leasing company Ryder System Inc.’s used-truck unit, Ryder shares fell sharply on May 11.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst John Larkin said Ryder’s commercial rental division “is not yet seeing any signs of life.” In addition, the troubles facing the U.S. auto industry continue to hurt Ryder’s supply-chain-solutions segment. Last month, Ryder’s first-quarter earnings fell 88 percent as slowing commercial rental and used vehicle sales hurt its fleet-management business.

Because too many trucks are still competing for too little business, Larkin estimates that prices in the division are still down by double-digits compared with last year. The situation could be even worse, he added, if some lenders “were not so accommodating with carriers right now on the finance side.”

Because of all that, Larkin cut the stock to “hold,” saying the stock is too expensive to justify his previous “buy” rating. Larkin added that overall economic conditions should keep the stock from rising much in the near future. He said the trucking industry will remain challenging at least through next year. He did say, however, that Ryder System Inc. has a strong management team and solid market position.

The company predicted that business will be weak through the end of this year. Ryder also suspended earnings projections, citing economic uncertainty.

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