Union Pacific (UNP) Downgraded to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Union Pacific have underperformed its industry over the past year due to multiple headwinds like the hurricanes. Moreover, the company's high debt levels are a potent threat. Declining automotive volumes due to sluggish vehicle production in the United States are added concerns. Volumes in its automotive unit have declined 3% on a year-to-date basis. Additionally, higher fuel prices may hinder operating ratio. We are, however, imperessed by the company's efforts to reward shareholders through dividends and buybacks. Efforts to check costs also bode well for the stock.”

A number of other research analysts also recently weighed in on UNP. BMO Capital Markets reissued a buy rating and issued a $123.00 price target on shares of Union Pacific in a research note on Friday, September 15th. Robert W. Baird reissued a hold rating and issued a $116.00 price target on shares of Union Pacific in a research note on Sunday, September 17th. Morgan Stanley downgraded Union Pacific from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and cut their price target for the company from $102.00 to $100.00 in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Citigroup downgraded Union Pacific from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $120.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. Finally, Aegis downgraded Union Pacific from a buy rating to a hold rating and increased their price target for the company from $120.00 to $122.00 in a research note on Tuesday, October 10th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $121.21.

Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) opened at $140.22 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83, a current ratio of 1.16 and a quick ratio of 0.97. The firm has a market capitalization of $109,760.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.82, a PEG ratio of 1.97 and a beta of 0.90. Union Pacific has a 12 month low of $101.06 and a 12 month high of $139.72.

Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The railroad operator reported $1.50 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.49 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $5.41 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.32 billion. Union Pacific had a return on equity of 23.35% and a net margin of 21.84%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.36 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Union Pacific will post 5.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 28th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 30th were paid a $0.665 dividend. This is an increase from Union Pacific’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 29th. This represents a $2.66 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.90%. Union Pacific’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 47.08%.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co. Ltd. grew its holdings in shares of Union Pacific by 46.6% in the 2nd quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co. Ltd. now owns 1,070 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $117,000 after acquiring an additional 340 shares in the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Union Pacific by 33.3% in the 2nd quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,200 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $131,000 after acquiring an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Community Bank N.A. grew its holdings in shares of Union Pacific by 3.0% in the 2nd quarter. Community Bank N.A. now owns 1,537 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $168,000 after acquiring an additional 45 shares in the last quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Union Pacific by 6.6% in the 2nd quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC now owns 1,705 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $185,000 after acquiring an additional 105 shares in the last quarter. Finally, American National Bank grew its holdings in shares of Union Pacific by 24.4% in the 2nd quarter. American National Bank now owns 1,782 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $194,000 after acquiring an additional 350 shares in the last quarter. 78.45% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Union Pacific

Union Pacific Corporation is a railroad operating company in the United States. The Company operates through its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad Company (UPRR). Its business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Coal, Industrial Products and Intermodal. Its freight traffic consists of bulk, manifest, and premium business.

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