Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Kansas City Southern's shares comfortably outperformed the industry it belongs to. The stock has gained 19.2%, as against the industry’s decline of 0.1% in the last three months. The stock, however, lags its fellow railroad operator, Norfolk Southern that saw a gain of 3.6% in the last three months. The improving scenario with respect to coal is aiding Kansas City Southern significantly. We are also bullish on the company's efforts to reward shareholders dividend payments and buybacks. In line with this objective, the company recently hiked its quarterly dividend in excess of 9%. Moreover, its board cleared a new share repurchase program worth $800 million.  Sluggish intermodal revenues and high fuel costs, however, remain concerns.”

Several other brokerages have also issued reports on KSU. BidaskClub raised shares of Kansas City Southern from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Friday. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $118.00 price objective (up from $114.00) on shares of Kansas City Southern in a report on Friday. Bank of America Corporation lifted their price objective on shares of Kansas City Southern from $112.00 to $113.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday. UBS AG reissued a “positive” rating and set a $117.00 price objective (up from $103.00) on shares of Kansas City Southern in a report on Monday, July 24th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a “market perform” rating and set a $105.00 price objective (up from $98.00) on shares of Kansas City Southern in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. Eleven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Kansas City Southern presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $104.60.

Kansas City Southern (NYSE KSU) traded up 0.45% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $108.04. 241,326 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Kansas City Southern has a 52 week low of $79.05 and a 52 week high of $109.13. The stock has a market cap of $11.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.74 and a beta of 0.80. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $104.14 and a 200-day moving average price of $94.27.

Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 21st. The transportation company reported $1.33 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.26 by $0.07. The company had revenue of $656.40 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $627.81 million. Kansas City Southern had a net margin of 21.52% and a return on equity of 11.40%. Kansas City Southern’s revenue was up 15.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.22 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Kansas City Southern will post $5.21 earnings per share for the current year.

Kansas City Southern declared that its board has initiated a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, August 15th that allows the company to buyback $800.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the transportation company to repurchase up to 7.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other Kansas City Southern news, Director Henry J. Maier bought 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 17th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $106.19 per share, for a total transaction of $318,570.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 4,159 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $441,644.21. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Mary K. Stadler sold 4,451 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $105.87, for a total transaction of $471,227.37. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 8,814 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $933,138.18. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.95% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of KSU. Boston Common Asset Management LLC increased its position in Kansas City Southern by 63.6% in the first quarter. Boston Common Asset Management LLC now owns 56,095 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $4,811,000 after buying an additional 21,803 shares in the last quarter. Packer & Co Ltd acquired a new position in Kansas City Southern during the first quarter worth about $25,694,000. Comerica Bank increased its position in Kansas City Southern by 15.1% in the first quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 76,595 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $6,884,000 after buying an additional 10,045 shares in the last quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. increased its position in Kansas City Southern by 78.8% in the first quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 29,839 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $2,559,000 after buying an additional 13,155 shares in the last quarter. Finally, V Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Kansas City Southern during the second quarter worth about $169,000. Institutional investors own 85.05% of the company’s stock.

About Kansas City Southern

Kansas City Southern (KCS) is a holding company. The Company has domestic and international rail operations in North America that are focused on the north/south freight corridor connecting commercial and industrial markets in the central United States with industrial cities in Mexico. The Company’s subsidiaries include The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR) and Kansas City Southern de Mexico, SA de C.V.

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