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UPS earnings: $1.45 a share, matching expectations

  • United Parcel Service raised its full-year forecast for 2017.
  • Third-quarter revenue increased from the prior year, though operating profits were flat.
  • UPS is charging extra during peak shipping weeks in November and December.

United Parcel Service reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations on revenue and met analyst forecasts on per-share earnings Thursday, while raising its forecast for the rest of the year.

With the holiday season around the corner, investors will be looking to see how UPS prepares for the deluge of shipments. UPS said in September it plans to hire 95,000 additional workers to cover the peak six-week period.

Here's how the company did versus what Wall Street expected:

  • EPS: $1.45 per share vs. $1.45 expected in a Thomson Reuters survey of analysts.
  • Revenue: $15.98 billion vs. $15.6 billion expected in the Thomson Reuters survey.

Shares of UPS dropped at market open before bouncing back up more than 1 percent.

Quarterly revenue increased 7 percent from the prior year, though operating profits were virtually unchanged at $2 billion. The company also raised its bottom earnings guidance for the full 2017 year to a range of between $5.85 and $6.10 per share.

"UPS produced another solid quarter of financial performance, despite the impact of several natural disasters that slowed regional economic activity and damaged infrastructure," UPS Chairman and CEO David Abney said in a press release.

UPS is making an unprecedented move for the holidays, announcing it will charge extra during peak shipping weeks in November and December. Citi Research said the move suggests UPS "is in the process of accelerating" its business, and raised its forecast for the company's stock.

It remains to be seen whether that acceleration will match recent forecasts from the United States Postal Service, which says it expects to ship about 850 million packages during the holiday months.

In August, UPS CEO David Abney penned and co-wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal with rival FedEx CEO Frederick Smith. They said the U.S. must fix its roads and bridges because a simple delay adds up to millions of lost dollars.

The two rivals said they are "prepared to pay our share for the use of new roads, bridges, and aviation systems," but "funds should be dedicated specifically to transportation infrastructure."

In October, Amazon announced it is testing its own delivery business. The news drove UPS shares 0.7 percent lower and FedEx stock down slightly, though analysts told CNBC that the e-commerce giant's move likely won't hurt UPS as much as expected.

At most, Amazon accounts for 10 percent of UPS' revenue, meaning any business lost from Amazon's disruptive "Seller Flex" proposition should be limited in impact.

Pressured by a nascent e-commerce sector eclipsing brick-and-mortar retailers, UPS stock has lagged behind the stock market and its competitors in the industrials industry. UPS shares are up just 3 percent so far in 2017, well below with the 13.3 percent growth of the broader S&P 500 index.

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