Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) was the recipient of a large growth in short interest in the month of August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 2,131,586 shares, a growth of 91.2% from the August 15th total of 1,114,731 shares. Approximately 2.0% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,382,539 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.5 days.

A number of analysts have recently weighed in on KSU shares. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $108.00 target price on shares of Kansas City Southern in a research report on Friday, June 30th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Kansas City Southern from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Aegis upped their target price on shares of Kansas City Southern from $110.00 to $115.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, June 19th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Kansas City Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $118.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $92.00 target price on shares of Kansas City Southern in a research report on Wednesday, May 24th. Eleven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Kansas City Southern presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $105.53.

In other news, insider Delano Jose Guillermo Zozaya sold 6,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $102.93, for a total value of $617,580.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 42,087 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,332,014.91. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP Mary K. Stadler sold 4,451 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $105.87, for a total transaction of $471,227.37. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 8,814 shares in the company, valued at $933,138.18. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 14,469 shares of company stock worth $1,522,510 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.95% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. QS Investors LLC grew its stake in shares of Kansas City Southern by 0.5% during the second quarter. QS Investors LLC now owns 1,320 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $138,000 after acquiring an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. Savant Capital LLC grew its stake in shares of Kansas City Southern by 0.4% during the first quarter. Savant Capital LLC now owns 3,201 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $275,000 after acquiring an additional 12 shares during the last quarter. Concert Wealth Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Kansas City Southern by 0.3% during the first quarter. Concert Wealth Management Inc. now owns 7,059 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $598,000 after acquiring an additional 24 shares during the last quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. grew its stake in shares of Kansas City Southern by 1.2% during the second quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. now owns 4,277 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $447,000 after acquiring an additional 51 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Envestnet Asset Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Kansas City Southern by 2.4% during the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,250 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $194,000 after acquiring an additional 52 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.52% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Kansas City Southern (NYSE KSU) opened at 106.28 on Tuesday. Kansas City Southern has a one year low of $79.05 and a one year high of $109.13. The stock has a market cap of $11.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.39 and a beta of 0.79. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $104.50 and its 200-day moving average is $96.72.

Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 21st. The transportation company reported $1.33 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.26 by $0.07. Kansas City Southern had a return on equity of 11.40% and a net margin of 21.52%. The business had revenue of $656.40 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $627.81 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.22 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 15.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Kansas City Southern will post $5.20 EPS for the current year.

Kansas City Southern announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback program on Tuesday, August 15th that allows the company to buyback $800.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the transportation company to reacquire up to 7.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 4th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 11th will be paid a dividend of $0.36 per share. This is a positive change from Kansas City Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.33. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 8th. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.35%. Kansas City Southern’s payout ratio is presently 28.92%.

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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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