Norfolk Souther Corporation (NSC) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research
Norfolk Souther Corporation (NYSE:NSC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Thursday.
According to Zacks, “Shares of Norfolk Southern have outperformed its industry so far this year. Ushering in further good news, the company reported better-than-expected revenues and earnings per share in the third quarter of 2017. Both metrics improved on a year-over-year basis. Overall volumes grew 4% on the back of impressive performances at key segments like coal and intermodal.The company is looking to cut costs in order to drive the bottom line. It registered a record operating ratio of 65.9% in the quarter. The metric improved 160 basis points from the year-ago quarter. Norfolk Southern aims to achieve an operating ratio of below 65% by 2020 or even earlier. Automotive volume, however, decreased in the quarter due to sluggish vehicle production in the United States.”
A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on NSC. BidaskClub raised Norfolk Souther Corporation from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 10th. UBS AG lifted their target price on Norfolk Souther Corporation from $133.00 to $154.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on Norfolk Souther Corporation from $75.00 to $78.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. BMO Capital Markets lifted their target price on Norfolk Souther Corporation from $127.00 to $135.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Finally, TD Securities lifted their target price on Norfolk Souther Corporation from $130.00 to $135.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $127.26.
Norfolk Souther Corporation (NYSE:NSC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The railroad operator reported $1.75 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.64 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $2.67 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.65 billion. Norfolk Souther Corporation had a return on equity of 14.72% and a net margin of 17.86%. Norfolk Souther Corporation’s revenue was up 5.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.55 EPS.
Norfolk Souther Corporation declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Tuesday, September 26th that allows the company to buyback 50,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the railroad operator to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.
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In related news, COO Michael Joseph Wheeler sold 2,370 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $118.68, for a total transaction of $281,271.60. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 13,492 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,601,230.56. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman James A. Squires sold 24,407 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $119.95, for a total value of $2,927,619.65. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 76,481 shares in the company, valued at $9,173,895.95. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 30,645 shares of company stock worth $3,719,075. 0.36% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Hall Laurie J Trustee purchased a new stake in Norfolk Souther Corporation during the 4th quarter valued at about $100,000. D Orazio & Associates Inc. grew its stake in Norfolk Souther Corporation by 0.5% during the 1st quarter. D Orazio & Associates Inc. now owns 891 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $100,000 after purchasing an additional 4 shares during the last quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC grew its stake in Norfolk Souther Corporation by 12,069.6% during the 2nd quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC now owns 12,413 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after purchasing an additional 12,311 shares during the last quarter. Krilogy Financial LLC grew its stake in Norfolk Souther Corporation by 2.6% during the 2nd quarter. Krilogy Financial LLC now owns 855 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $104,000 after purchasing an additional 22 shares during the last quarter. Finally, SRS Capital Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in Norfolk Souther Corporation during the 4th quarter valued at about $106,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.55% of the company’s stock.
About Norfolk Souther Corporation
Norfolk Southern Corporation is a holding company engaged in the rail transportation business. As of December 31, 2016, the Company operated approximately 19,500 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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