) to neutral from overweight.
Analyst Gregory Burns says the downgrade follows a run-up in USF Corp. shares, which have risen 29% from their low on Mar. 12, vs. a 13% increase for the S&P 500. He notes the rally occurred even as he cut his $2.50 2003 earnings per share estimate to $2.05, as the supply-chain management company, which supplies transportation and logistics services, is looking for a new CEO.
Burns also cut the $3.15 2004 earnings per share estimate to $2.65. While he thinks USF is well positioned in the fast-growing regional markets, its tonnage and yield growth have trailed other less-than-truckload competitors. He says he'd prefer owning those carriers with greater potential for market share gains, or national less-than-truckload carriers with lower valuations.