Zacks: Brokerages Anticipate Norfolk Southern Co. (NYSE:NSC) to Announce $3.44 Earnings Per Share

Analysts forecast that Norfolk Southern Co. (NYSE:NSCGet Rating) will announce earnings of $3.44 per share for the current quarter, Zacks reports. Five analysts have issued estimates for Norfolk Southern’s earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $3.33 and the highest estimate coming in at $3.59. Norfolk Southern reported earnings per share of $3.28 during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 4.9%. The business is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Monday, January 1st.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Norfolk Southern will report full year earnings of $13.81 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $13.64 to $13.95. For the next fiscal year, analysts forecast that the business will post earnings of $15.09 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $13.84 to $15.55. Zacks Investment Research’s earnings per share averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that that provide coverage for Norfolk Southern.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSCGet Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 27th. The railroad operator reported $2.93 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.91 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $2.92 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.83 billion. Norfolk Southern had a return on equity of 21.95% and a net margin of 26.58%. Norfolk Southern’s quarterly revenue was up 10.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $2.66 EPS.

A number of research firms recently commented on NSC. Susquehanna lowered their price target on Norfolk Southern from $356.00 to $350.00 and set a “positive” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, April 7th. Royal Bank of Canada raised their target price on Norfolk Southern from $262.00 to $273.00 in a research report on Thursday, January 27th. TD Securities raised their target price on Norfolk Southern from $300.00 to $305.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 28th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. decreased their target price on Norfolk Southern from $318.00 to $308.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, April 8th. Finally, StockNews.com assumed coverage on Norfolk Southern in a research report on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “hold” rating for the company. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat, the company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $309.41.

In related news, Director Steven F. Leer sold 700 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $265.51, for a total transaction of $185,857.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, President Alan H. Shaw sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $256.70, for a total value of $256,700.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.31% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in NSC. Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 1.4% during the third quarter. Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,628 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $629,000 after purchasing an additional 37 shares during the period. Equitable Trust Co. grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 1.7% during the fourth quarter. Equitable Trust Co. now owns 2,261 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $674,000 after purchasing an additional 38 shares during the period. First Bank & Trust grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 2.9% during the fourth quarter. First Bank & Trust now owns 1,369 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $407,000 after purchasing an additional 38 shares during the period. Foster & Motley Inc. grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 2.9% during the fourth quarter. Foster & Motley Inc. now owns 1,377 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $410,000 after purchasing an additional 39 shares during the period. Finally, Centric Wealth Management grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 1.3% during the first quarter. Centric Wealth Management now owns 3,025 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $863,000 after purchasing an additional 39 shares during the period. 73.63% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

NYSE NSC traded up $3.26 on Friday, reaching $249.32. The company had a trading volume of 1,116,431 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,423,140. The stock has a market capitalization of $59.42 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.12, a P/E/G ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 1.36. The company’s fifty day moving average is $265.24 and its 200 day moving average is $274.44. Norfolk Southern has a 52-week low of $238.62 and a 52-week high of $299.20. The company has a quick ratio of 0.87, a current ratio of 0.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02.

Norfolk Southern announced that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, March 29th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the railroad operator to reacquire up to 14.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 20th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 6th will be issued a $1.24 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 5th. This represents a $4.96 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.99%. Norfolk Southern’s payout ratio is currently 40.03%.

About Norfolk Southern (Get Rating)

Norfolk Southern Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods in the United States. The company transports agriculture, forest, and consumer products comprising soybeans, wheat, corn, fertilizers, livestock and poultry feed, food products, food oils, flour, sweeteners, ethanol, lumber and wood products, pulp board and paper products, wood fibers, wood pulp, scrap paper, beverages, canned goods, and consumer products; chemicals consist of sulfur and related chemicals, petroleum products, chlorine and bleaching compounds, plastics, rubber, industrial chemicals, chemical wastes, and sand; metals and construction materials, such as steel, aluminum products, machinery, scrap metals, cement, aggregates, minerals, clay, transportation equipment, and military-related products; and automotive, including finished motor vehicles and automotive parts, as well as coal.

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