Investors who follow the industrial sector closely should be ready for a busy week ahead, as some of the top names turn up with their quarterly earnings reports. One company to pay attention to is PACCAR Inc (NASDAQ:PCAR). PACCAR Inc (NASDAQ:PCAR)’s earnings release is important for two reasons. One, it tells a good deal about the shape of things in the trucking industry. Two, as Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI)‘ largest customer, PACCAR Inc (NASDAQ:PCAR) can also give investors an idea of what to expect from Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI)’ quarterly numbers, which will be up about a week later.
More importantly, what PACCAR Inc (NASDAQ:PCAR) delivers Tuesday will determine whether its stock can maintain its new-found momentum. The stock is holding up strong, having gained a solid 20% over the past three months riding on encouraging industry news, such as record highs for truck tonnage in May.
Yet the excitement might fizzle out next week, if analyst estimates of a 10% drop in PACCAR Inc (NASDAQ:PCAR)’s second-quarter earnings per share on 7% lower revenue come true. Industry sales figures for big trucks were mixed in the past quarter, with two months of gains interspersed with one month of decline. Moreover, peer Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV) reported a sharp 23% dip in revenue for the second quarter, driven largely by lower truck and engine volumes.
But investors should also remember that Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV) has its own set of problems. The spill-over effect of its failed engine technology, and the soaring warranty claims that hit the company hard last year, still exist, which could explain the sharp fall in its sales. So PACCAR Inc (NASDAQ:PCAR)’s second quarter should at least be better than Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV)’s.
Nevertheless, Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV) is working overtime to get back into the business. After having recently won the EPA’s approval for its own 13-liter engine, Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV) is swiftly transitioning its heavy-duty trucks to the upgraded technology. With competition heating up, it will be interesting to see how PACCAR plans to maintain the lead in the truck market. Look for clues in PACCAR’s upcoming earnings call, and pay special attention to the company’s efforts to push further into the natural-gas fuel market, because that’s one area where PACCAR easily beats Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV). It could also hold the key to PACCAR’s fortunes in the future.
Natural gas and international markets
PACCAR already dominates the natural-gas-powered heavy-duty truck market in the U.S. with a 40% share, thanks to its long-standing relationship with Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) and Westport Innovations Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:WPRT).