CSX CorporationCSX reported third-quarter 2017 earnings of 51 cents per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Quarterly earnings came in 6.3% higher than the year-ago figure.
Revenues of $2,743 million missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,769.4 million. However, the figure improved 1.2% year over year owing to core pricing gains. Overall volumes also inched up 1% year over year.
The revenue miss disappointed investors. Consequently, the stock slid 1.6% in early trading.
Also, third-quarter operating income (on a reported basis) improved 4% year over year to $876 million. While the operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenues) reportedly improved 90 basis points to 68.1%, operating expenses remained flat year over year to $1,867 million.
Adjusted operating income in the third quarter was $877 million. On an adjusted basis, the operating ratio for the reported quarter was 68%.
Driven by improved efficiencies, CSX expects the bottom line to expand between 20% and 25% in 2017 on a reported basis over 2016 levels. Operating ratio in the high end of mid-60s is expected in 2017. The company expects free cash flow before dividends (excluding restructuring costs) of around $1.5 billion in 2017.
Merchandise revenues slipped 3% year over year to $1,688 million in the quarter.
Coal revenues rose 10% year over year to $514 million owing to 5% expansion in volumes.
Intermodal revenues improved 5% year over year to $446 million. On a year-over-year basis, volumes expanded 5%.
Other revenues grossed $95 million, up 23% year over year.
CSX Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Liquidity & Buyback
This Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company exited the third quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $591 million compared with $603 million at the end of 2016. Long-term debt totaled $11,788 millioncompared with $10,962 millionat the same time around. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .
For the period ending Sep 30, 2017, net cash provided by operating activities was$2,861 million compared with $2,488 million in the year-ago period. During the third quarter, the company completed a $1.5 billion share repurchase program, announced in April and expanded in July.
Investors interested in the railroad space are keenly waiting for third-quarter earnings reports from key players like Canadian National Railway Company CNI , Kansas City Southern KSU and Norfolk Southern Corporation NSC . Canadian National is scheduled to report third-quarter results on Oct 24, while Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern will report on Oct 20 and Oct 25, respectively.
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