FedEx Company Earnings Please Investors, but Tepid Forecast Remains

FedEx Plane
FedEx Plane

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) reported first-quarter fiscal 2014 results before markets opened this morning. The package delivery service posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.53 on revenues of $11,0 billion. In the same period a year ago, FedEx reported EPS of $1.45 on revenue of $10.8 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.50 and $10.9 billion in revenue.

The company affirmed its previous guidance for the full fiscal year for EPS growth of 7% to 13% above 2013 results. Based on 2013 EPS, FedEx is projecting earnings for 2014 in the range of $6.67 to $7.04 per share. The consensus estimate calls for full-year EPS of $6.96, down from the estimate of $7.12 just three months ago.

The company's forecast assumes U.S. GDP growth of 2.1% and global GDP growth of 2.6% in 2014. The company's chief financial officer said, "We remain confident in our full year earnings outlook despite tepid global economic growth."

FedEx said it will raise shipping rates an average of 3.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services beginning January 6, 2014. Changes to shipping rates for FedEx Ground and FedEx SmartPost will be announced later.

While FedEx is not exactly struggling, neither is the company busting any records. The company continues to focus on cost cutting and overcoming the impact of higher fuel costs. Operating margins in its Express segment rose slightly, from 3.1% in the first quarter a year ago to 3.6%. Margins fell from 18.1% to 17.1% in the Ground segment and were flat at 6.4% in the Freight segment.

Shares are up about 2.7% in premarket trading this morning, at $113.75 in a 52-week range of $83.92 to $113.34. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $115.30 before today's results were announced.

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