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Halftime: A Harbinger of the Economy's Direction Shows Good Signs

Tuesday, 26 Apr 2011 | 1:52 PM ET

The U.S.'s economic outlook is improving if trucking and logistics company Ryder System is any indicator. The company said on Tuesday its quarterly net profit doubled on improved commercial rentals and vehicle sales.

"Sometimes we are a harbinger of what's coming," Ryder CEO Gregory Swienton said on Tuesday, adding his company is seeing general improvement in all areas of freight demand. "We are seeing more new business signed, more new customers signed and renewal rates at a higher level. I think that's a good reflection on their expectations on the future of their business and a solid economy."

Call to the Floor: Ryder System
An inside look at commercial truck leasing company, Ryder Systems and its better-than expected earnings with Gregory Swienton, Ryder System chairman & CEO.

Swienton's expectations of heavy lease renewal suggests customers are feeling more confident about their businesses, which bodes well for the health of the economy. His company started to "crawl out" of the financial crisis one year ago when it saw strong commercial rental demand.

"I think we're continuing to see gradual, multi-year improvement because it was gradual, multi-year decline," he said. "We've got a ways to go yet, but it's certainly good signs."

What's the Trade?

Patty Edwards, chief investment officer at Trutina Financial, likes Ryder, as well as engine maker Cummins . When it comes to the automotive story, Stuart Frankel's Steve Grasso said he likes Ford Motor .

"Ford is the true comeback story," Grasso said. "They are the true turnaround story and I think you could still reap the benefits of a 5 percent increase in price from current levels right now."

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POPS & DROPS

As stocks gained on Tuesday, the "Fast Money" traders thought the following market movers to be the most interesting.

Pops (stocks that went up)

United Continental (UAL) popped 2%: The fact this airline operator has more loads could be a sign the U.S. economy is improving, said Anthony Scaramucci, managing partner of SkyBridge. With increased traffic, he thinks UAL remains a good buy.

UBS (UBS) popped 4%: Like Morgan Stanley , this Zurich, Switzerland-based financial services firm's wealth management division is doing well, trader Brian Kelly said. The Kanundrum Capital founder likes UBS at current levels.

Drops (stocks that went down)

U.S. Steel (X) dropped 3%: The market is rotating out of U.S. Steel and going into AK Steel , Grasso said. For that reason, he's a seller of X.

Motorola Mobility (MMI) dropped 1.88%: One analyst said this tech company is not selling enough tablets that could compete against Apple's popular iPad device, Edwards reports. She isn't surprised by the news and doesn't recommend buying MMI shares right now.

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Trader disclosure: On April 26, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; rasso owns (AMD); Grasso owns (ASTM); Grasso owns (BA); Grasso owns (BAC); Grasso owns (C); Grasso owns (CSCO); Grasso owns (JPM); Grasso owns (FITB); Grasso owns (LIT); Grasso owns (LPX); Grasso owns (MHY); Grasso owns (NDAQ); Grasso owns (PFE); Grasso owns (PRST)

Brian Kelly
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (EBAY)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (SLV)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (GLD)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (ARMH)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (BCSI)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (JNPR)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (MON)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (DBA)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (RVBD)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (TER)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (TSN)
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own silver futures
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own gold futures
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own soybeans futures
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own natural gas futures
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own (FX) futures
Accounts Managed by Brian Kelly Capital own euro futures

For Patty Edwards
Edwards is long (AAPL) for clients
Edwards is long (AMZN) for clients
Edwards is long (QCOM) for clients
Edwards is long (GE) for clients
Edwards is long (TEVA) for clients
Edwards is long (MSFT) for clients
Edwards is long (KO) for clients
Edwards is long (TTM) for clients
Edwards is long S&P 500 for clients
Edwards is long Nasdaq 100 for clients
Edwards is long gold for clients
Edwards is long silver for clients

For Steve Grasso:
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (AMD)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (AOL)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (CSCO)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (CUBA)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (GERN)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (HPQ)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (HSPO)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (MSFT)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (NYX)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (PFE)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (PRST)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (SDS)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (UAL)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners own (XRX)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners are short (QQQQ)
Stuart Frankel & Co and its partners are short (AAPL)

For Anthony Scaramucci
Skybridge is a Fund of Funds Manager
Funds Held may or May Not Own the Recommended Securities

Tony Wible
Janney Montgomery Scott is a market maker in the securities of (NFLX), and may at any time hold a long or short position in this security.
Janney Montgomery Scott may seek compensation for investment banking services from (NFLX) in the next 3 months.
The research analyst is compensated based on, in part, Janney Montgomery Scott's profitability, which includes its investment banking revenues.

Joshua Shapiro
**No Disclosures

CNBC.com with wires.

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