US trucking may not have bottomed out yet: Analyst

SAN FRANCISCO — Record-high diesel prices and severe weather predicted for much of U.S. could further hurt the trucking industry, according to a research note from Credit Suisse.

After pairing full-year and 2009 earnings estimates for every trucking company that he covers, analyst Jason Seidl said expectations for a trucking rebound are premature.

Diesel prices in the U.S. have soared to over $4.00 a gallon — up from $2.91 a gallon a year ago.

This week crude oil prices again hit record highs, surging to more than $112 a barrel.

Making matters worse during the quarter, powerful Pacific storms steadily blasted the West Coast, frigid temperatures rattled the East and heavy rainfall flooded the Midwest, making it increasingly difficult for truckers to reach their destinations,” said Seidl.

These and other economic pressures could ease a bit in the latter part of 2008, but he warned that investors have already priced in a second-half recovery.

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