Atlanta-based United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS – $99.58) announced fourth quarter 2014 adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.25, equal to the prior-year period. On Jan. 23, the company announced its expected fourth quarter results, which were consistent with the company’s final figures and well below then estimated forecasts of about $1.44 per share. The shares plunged on the news. UPS reported that operating results in the U.S. Domestic segment were negatively affected by higher than expected peak related expenses. UPS delivered 1.3 billion packages during the fourth quarter, an increase of 8.1% over the same period last year. For calendar year 2014, the company completed delivery of 4.6 billion packages, up 6.8% over 2013. U.S. Domestic fourth quarter revenue climbed 7.5% to $10 billion. Daily package volume increased 6.6% with Deferred Air and Ground up 11% and 7.1%, respectively. International revenue, on a currency-neutral basis, increased 5.9% to $3.4 billion on 4.3% growth in daily package volume. Export shipments were up 5.2% per day, driven primarily by 8.5% growth from Europe, offset somewhat by a decline in Asia export volume. Non-U.S. domestic products were up 3.6% with strong growth in Canada, Spain and Mexico. Supply Chain & Freight Revenue increased 7.4% to $2.5 billion, driven by growth in Distribution and UPS Freight. UPS anticipates full-year 2015 diluted earnings per share of $5.05 to $5.30, a 6%-to-12% increase over 2014 adjusted results, but on the low-end of consensus. On a risk-adjusted basis, the shares can be held in a conservative portfolio for reasonable, albeit slower growth, long-term total returns. The shares yield 2.7%, at current levels.