Shares of United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS – $106.28) are moving up about 4%, after the world’s largest package delivery provider reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations, despite a small shortfall on revenue. Adjusted earnings per share grew to $1.94 from $1.66 last year, and four cents above consensus, thanks to a strong holiday delivery season. Revenue rose 4.6% to $19.85 billion from $18.98 billion, but was just below Street expectations of $19.97 billion. Domestic revenue increased 6.3% to $12.58 billion and international revenue rose 2.9% to $3.83 billion. Supply chain and freight revenue was the weak spot, edging up only 0.7% to $3.44 billion. For 2019, UPS expects adjusted earnings per share of $7.45 to $7.75, surrounding the consensus view of $ 7.67.
Several growth initiatives at Atlanta-based UPS show promise. The company will focus on business-to-business customers in the most attractive market segments, like healthcare, e-commerce and high-growth economies. United Parcel just also increased its presence in India, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. New sorting facilities should add capacity and increase network flexibility and reliability, as well. Conservative investors may want to take a closer look here as the shares possess decent long-term growth characteristics and the healthy dividend yields 3.6%.