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Norfolk Southern Beats Q1 Earnings, Down Y-O-Y - Analyst Blog

Posted
4/24/2014 12:58:00 PM
By: Zacks.com
Referenced Stocks:CSX;KSU;NSC;UNP

Norfolk Southern Corp. ( NSC ) reported first quarter 2014 adjusted earnings of $1.17 per share that surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.14 but deteriorated from $1.22 earned in the year-ago quarter.

Total operating revenue was down 2% year over year at $2.7 billion but came in line with Zacks Consensus Estimate. Carloads decreased 1% year over year.

On a year-over-year basis, Coal revenues fell 15% while General Merchandise and Intermodal revenues grew 1.4% and 4.0%, respectively.

Operating income was $667 million, down 3% year over year. Operating expenses remained unchanged year over year at $2 billion, resulting in an operating ratio of 75.2%.

Cash Position

Norfolk exited the first quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $1,522 million compared with $1,443 million at year-end 2013. The company had long-term debt (including current portion) of $8,909 million, representing debt-to-capitalization ratio of 73.9%.

Our Analysis

We believe Norfolk is poised to benefit from strong pricing momentum on the back of abundant opportunities within the transportation business sector. Growing market share of its Intermodal segment and an improving Merchandize segment along with recovery in the construction and agriculture market will likely support the company's efforts to generate even better revenues in the coming quarters.

However, we remain concerned about the weak performance of the Coal segment. Further, tightened railroad regulation and competitive pressure from peers like CSX Corp. ( CSX ) remain significant headwinds to the company's growth.

Norfolk Southern currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other Stocks

Better-ranked stocks in this sector include Kansas City Southern ( KSU ) and Union Pacific Corp. ( UNP ), both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).



CSX CORP (CSX): Free Stock Analysis Report

KANSAS CITY SOU (KSU): Free Stock Analysis Report

NORFOLK SOUTHRN (NSC): Free Stock Analysis Report

UNION PAC CORP (UNP): Free Stock Analysis Report

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