CH Robinson shares fall on disappointing 1Q profit

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. tumbled Wednesday after the trucking company posted a lower-than-expected first-quarter profit.

THE SPARK: C.H. Robinson posted a profit of $103.3 million, or 64 cents per share, down 3 percent from $106.5 million, or 65 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2012.

Revenue jumped 17 percent to $2.99 billion, helped by contributions from a recent acquisition.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 68 cents per share on $2.98 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

THE BIG PICTURE: C.H. Robinson attributed the disappointing profit to slower growth and a continued decrease in profitability in the markets it serves.

Truckload revenue rose 2 percent to $268.6 million, helped by a 9 percent increase in volume, while less-than-truckload revenue jumped 13 percent to $58.5 million on a 12 percent increase in shipments.

THE ANALYSIS: Stifel Nicolaus analyst John Larkin backed his "Sell" rating and $53 fair value estimate for the stock, noting that the company is generally still unable to pass through certain higher costs to its customers, resulting in increasingly lower profits.

Jefferies analyst Peter Nesvold backed his "Hold" rating for the stock, but cut his price target by $5 to $56, also pointing to the lower-than-expected yields.

THE SHARES: Down $4.23, or 6.9 percent, to $57.33 in midday trading, after dropping as low as $56.11 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $50.81 and $67.93.