Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”
Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Wednesday.
According to Zacks, “We are impressed by Norfolk Southern’s focus on rewarding shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. The company's cost-cutting efforts to drive the bottom-line is also encouraging. For 2016, the company is targeting productivity savings of at least $200 million and an operating ratio below 70%. Additionally, the inauguration of the expanded 102-year old Panama Canal might prove to be beneficial for the company due to the likely increase in container traffic at East Coast ports. However, concerns related to top line growth remain. Norfolk Southern’s top line growth has been impacted due to weak energy markets in the U.S. Coal shipments have continued to stay at low levels and a significant improvement seems unlikely. At a recent conference, the company mentioned that for coal volumes are expected to remain low for the second half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.”
Several other analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. Citigroup Inc. boosted their price objective on shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. from $87.00 to $97.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 13th. Barclays PLC lowered their price objective on shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. from $104.00 to $92.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, September 12th. Loop Capital reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. in a research note on Friday, September 9th. Atlantic Securities began coverage on shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. in a research note on Thursday, August 11th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $104.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Argus reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. in a research note on Wednesday, August 3rd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. Norfolk Southern Corp. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $89.49.
Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) traded up 1.16% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $96.90. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 552,727 shares. The stock has a market capitalization of $28.44 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.15 and a beta of 1.27. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $93.02 and its 200 day moving average price is $87.86. Norfolk Southern Corp. has a 1-year low of $64.51 and a 1-year high of $98.75.
Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The railroad operator reported $1.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.01. Norfolk Southern Corp. had a net margin of 15.88% and a return on equity of 13.34%. The company earned $2.45 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.51 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.41 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 9.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Norfolk Southern Corp. will post $5.45 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Saturday, September 10th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 8th were given a $0.59 dividend. This represents a $2.36 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.46%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 4th. Norfolk Southern Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 44.19%.
In other news, VP Thomas E. Hurlbut sold 528 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $88.35, for a total value of $46,648.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 11,580 shares in the company, valued at $1,023,093. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP James A. Hixon sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.15, for a total transaction of $941,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 129,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $12,152,317.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.66% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Zions Bancorporation boosted its position in Norfolk Southern Corp. by 90.4% in the second quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 1,369 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 650 shares during the period. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. boosted its position in Norfolk Southern Corp. by 165.5% in the second quarter. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. now owns 1,460 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 910 shares during the period. ClariVest Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Norfolk Southern Corp. during the second quarter valued at about $125,000. Oakworth Capital Inc. boosted its position in Norfolk Southern Corp. by 46.5% in the second quarter. Oakworth Capital Inc. now owns 1,748 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $147,000 after buying an additional 555 shares during the period. Finally, NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. bought a new position in Norfolk Southern Corp. during the first quarter valued at about $158,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 67.90% of the company’s stock.
Norfolk Southern Corp. Company Profile
Norfolk Southern Corporation is a holding company engaged in the rail transportation business. The Company operates approximately 20,000 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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