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

Equities research analysts predict that Norfolk Southern Co. (NYSE:NSCGet Rating) will announce earnings per share of $3.44 for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have issued estimates for Norfolk Southern’s earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $3.59 and the lowest is $3.33. Norfolk Southern reported earnings of $3.28 per share during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 4.9%. The company is expected to report its next earnings results on Monday, January 1st.

On average, analysts expect that Norfolk Southern will report full year earnings of $13.81 per share for the current financial year, with EPS estimates ranging from $13.64 to $13.95. For the next year, analysts expect that the company will report earnings of $15.09 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $13.84 to $15.55. Zacks Investment Research’s earnings per share calculations are an average based on a survey of analysts that cover Norfolk Southern.

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

A number of research firms have weighed in on NSC. Susquehanna reduced their target price on Norfolk Southern from $356.00 to $350.00 and set a “positive” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, April 7th. The Goldman Sachs Group upped their target price on Norfolk Southern from $313.00 to $320.00 in a report on Wednesday, January 26th. TD Securities upped their target price on Norfolk Southern from $300.00 to $305.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, April 28th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $299.00 target price on the stock in a report on Tuesday, March 29th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada upped their target price on Norfolk Southern from $262.00 to $273.00 in a report on Thursday, January 27th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to, the company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $309.41.

NYSE:NSC traded up $3.26 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $249.32. 1,116,431 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,423,140. Norfolk Southern has a 12-month low of $238.62 and a 12-month high of $299.20. The firm has a market capitalization of $59.42 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.12, a PEG ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 1.36. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02, a current ratio of 0.96 and a quick ratio of 0.87. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $265.24 and a 200-day moving average price of $274.44.

Norfolk Southern announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Tuesday, March 29th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the railroad operator to buy up to 14.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board 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 paid a $1.24 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 5th. This represents a $4.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.99%. Norfolk Southern’s payout ratio is presently 40.03%.

In other 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 document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 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. Corporate insiders own 0.31% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Arlington Partners LLC bought a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern in the 4th quarter valued at about $27,000. Vectors Research Management LLC lifted its stake in Norfolk Southern by 468.8% in the fourth quarter. Vectors Research Management LLC now owns 91 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $27,000 after purchasing an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. Blume Capital Management Inc. bought a new stake in Norfolk Southern in the first quarter worth about $29,000. First Community Trust NA bought a new stake in Norfolk Southern in the fourth quarter worth about $30,000. Finally, Worth Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern during the first quarter worth approximately $30,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.63% of the company’s stock.

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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