Zacks: Brokerages Anticipate Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC) to Announce $1.55 Earnings Per Share

Equities analysts expect that Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) will post earnings of $1.55 per share for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Seven analysts have issued estimates for Norfolk Southern’s earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $1.46 and the highest estimate coming in at $1.62. Norfolk Southern reported earnings of $1.42 per share in the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 9.2%. The firm is expected to report its next earnings results on Wednesday, January 24th.

On average, analysts expect that Norfolk Southern will report full year earnings of $6.47 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.37 to $6.55. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the company will post earnings of $7.03 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.65 to $7.50. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS averages are an average based on a survey of analysts that follow Norfolk Southern.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The railroad operator reported $1.75 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.64 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $2.67 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.65 billion. Norfolk Southern had a return on equity of 14.72% and a net margin of 17.86%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.55 EPS.

A number of research analysts have weighed in on NSC shares. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $143.00 target price (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Norfolk Southern in a report on Thursday, October 12th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. ValuEngine raised Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. UBS boosted their price objective on Norfolk Southern from $133.00 to $154.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Argus boosted their price objective on Norfolk Southern from $145.00 to $150.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $147.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $127.62.

Norfolk Southern (NSC) traded up $0.09 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $143.72. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,433,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,762,466. The company has a quick ratio of 0.73, a current ratio of 0.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73. The stock has a market cap of $41,130.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.58, a PEG ratio of 1.85 and a beta of 1.38. Norfolk Southern has a 1-year low of $105.89 and a 1-year high of $144.63.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 11th. Shareholders of record on Friday, November 3rd were paid a $0.61 dividend. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.70%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 2nd. Norfolk Southern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 38.79%.

Norfolk Southern announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, September 26th that permits the company to repurchase 50,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization permits the railroad operator to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Norfolk Southern news, VP Thomas E. Hurlbut sold 6,175 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $129.61, for a total value of $800,341.75. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 7,568 shares in the company, valued at $980,888.48. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, COO Michael Joseph Wheeler sold 3,568 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $133.00, for a total value of $474,544.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 15,837 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,106,321. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 12,113 shares of company stock valued at $1,594,148. 0.36% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in NSC. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 2.3% during the second quarter. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 2,129 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $259,000 after acquiring an additional 47 shares in the last quarter. Capital One National Association grew its stake in Norfolk Southern by 12.7% in the second quarter. Capital One National Association now owns 23,812 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $2,898,000 after purchasing an additional 2,679 shares during the period. Private Trust Co. NA grew its stake in Norfolk Southern by 37.2% in the second quarter. Private Trust Co. NA now owns 2,679 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $326,000 after purchasing an additional 727 shares during the period. Capital Investment Advisors LLC grew its stake in Norfolk Southern by 13.3% in the second quarter. Capital Investment Advisors LLC now owns 41,664 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $5,071,000 after purchasing an additional 4,897 shares during the period. Finally, New England Research & Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Norfolk Southern in the second quarter worth $1,247,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.45% of the company’s stock.

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Norfolk Southern Company Profile

Norfolk Southern Corporation is a holding company engaged in the rail transportation business. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated approximately 19,500 miles of road primarily in the East and Midwest. The Company is engaged in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products and finished goods primarily in the Southeast, East and Midwest.

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Earnings History and Estimates for Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)

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