Legg Mason Equity Research Initiates Coverage of the Trucking

                           Industry;            Report Notes Potential for Powerful Earnings Opportunities      BALTIMORE, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In the near future, the  American trucking industry stands to experience a significant earnings  upswing, according to Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc. analyst John Larkin.  Mr.  Larkin initiated coverage of the trucking industry yesterday.   For the eight stocks included in the initial coverage universe, Mr. Larkin  projects "modestly positive" average quarterly year-over-year earnings per  share (EPS) comparisons for the first and second quarters of 2002.  In the  third and fourth quarters of 2002, as well as the first quarter of 2003, he  projects average year-over-year EPS growth of more than 40 percent.   Three stocks -- Arkansas Best Corporation (Nasdaq: ABFS - $25.46),  J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: JBHT - $22.66) and  Landstar System, Inc. (Nasdaq: LSTR - $78.97) -- are rated Strong Buy.  Mr.  Larkin's target prices for the three stocks imply a minimum of 30 percent  upside potential to current trading levels over the next 12 to 18 months.   Mr. Larkin, who joined Legg Mason in October 2001 to begin his research,  says several factors will contribute to the upswing, including the following:           -- the number of trucking company liquidations (more than 4,000 in 2001);      -- the large number of truck tractors traded to or repossessed by          manufacturers that have not re-entered the industry;      -- the discipline displayed by the large well-capitalized carriers in not          adding substantial amounts of new incremental equipment during the          economic slowdown;      -- the nationwide credit crunch; and      -- the insurance cost crisis.      Because trucking is a vital part of the American economy, Mr. Larkin  notes, industry coverage also serves as something of a barometer of other  vital sectors of the economy.   "When measured in terms of revenues, the trucking industry comprises  82 percent of the freight transportation industry in the United States," he  says.  "As a result, it is the critical cog in the efficient functioning of  the overall manufacturing and consumer sectors of our economy."   In addition to the Strong Buy recommendations, Legg Mason's coverage also  includes Forward Air Corporation (Nasdaq: FWRD - Buy - $27.09),  Heartland Express (Nasdaq: HTLD - Market Performance - $22.05),  Knight Transportation, Inc. (Nasdaq: KNGT - Market Performance - $22.06),  Swift Transportation Company, Inc. (Nasdaq: SWFT - Buy - $21.29) and  Werner Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WERN - Buy - $25.04).   "At Legg Mason, we pride ourselves on producing strong, expert value-added  research," says Legg Mason Senior Vice President and Director of Equity  Research Ira H. Malis.  "The new industry coverage also gives Legg Mason a  strong research position in this crucial industry.  We're very pleased John  Larkin has joined us.  His insight into this sector will be a tremendous help  to investors."     Pricing as of the close of 2/20/02   Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc. makes a market in the securities of Arkansas  Best Corporation, Forward Air Corporation, Heartland Express, J.B. Hunt  Transport Services, Inc., Knight Transportation, Inc., Landstar System, Inc.,  Swift Transportation Company, Inc. and Werner Enterprises, Inc.     J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. is a Legg Mason Select List compelling  idea.           Werner Enterprises, Inc. is a Legg Mason Select List core holding.        Additional information is available upon request      The information contained herein has been prepared from sources believed  reliable but is not guaranteed by us and is not a complete summary or  statement of all available data, nor is it considered to be an offer to buy or  sell securities referred to herein.  Opinions expressed are subject to change  without notice and do not take into account the particular investment  objectives, financial situation or needs of individual investors.  No  investments or services mentioned are available in the European Economic Area  to "private customers" or to anyone in Canada other than a "Designated  Institution."  From time to time, Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc. and/or its  employees involved in the preparation or the issuance of the communication may  have positions in the securities or options of the recommended issuer.   Legg Mason Wood Walker, Incorporated (member NYSE/SIPC) is the principal  securities brokerage subsidiary of Legg Mason, Inc. (NYSE: LM), with  approximately 1,400 Financial Advisors in over 140 offices, primarily in the  eastern and southeastern U.S., and including affiliate institutional offices  in San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, London, Geneva and Madrid.  Legg Mason,  Inc. is a financial services holding company that provides asset management,  securities brokerage, investment banking and related financial services  through its subsidiaries.                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here              http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X16176181      SOURCE  Legg Mason, Inc.  /CONTACT:  Melissa Delaney, Corporate Communications of Legg Mason,  +1-410-454-4439/   /Web site:  http://www.leggmason.com /   (LM ABFS JBHT LSTR FWRD HTLD KNGT SWFT WERN)   CO:  Legg Mason, Inc.; Arkansas Best Corporation; Forward Air Corporation;          Heartland Express; J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.; Knight       Transportation, Inc.; Landstar System, Inc.; Swift Transportation     Company, Inc.; Werner Enterprises, Inc.  ST:  Maryland  IN:  FIN MFD TRN  SU:  RTG ERP     -0- Feb/22/2002 13:15 GMT    
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