Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $124.00 target price on the transportation company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 12.09% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Kansas City Southern have outperformed the industry it belongs to in a year. The improvement in carload volumes is encouraging and is expected to aid results going forward. Improvement in operating margin too is a positive. We are also bullish on the company's efforts to reward shareholders dividend payments and buybacks. In line with this objective, the company hiked its quarterly dividend in excess of 9%, earlier this year. Moreover, its board cleared a new share repurchase program worth $800 million. However, declining businesss volumes at the Energy and Agriculture & Minerals units are concerning. Further, adding to its woes are high operating expenses.”

Other analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $118.00 price target on shares of Kansas City Southern in a report on Thursday, September 21st. Bank of America raised Kansas City Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the company from $113.00 to $116.00 in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. Citigroup reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $123.00 price target (up previously from $116.00) on shares of Kansas City Southern in a report on Wednesday, October 4th. Loop Capital reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $124.00 price target (up previously from $118.00) on shares of Kansas City Southern in a report on Monday, October 23rd. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Kansas City Southern from $88.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Monday, October 23rd. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $113.18.

Kansas City Southern (KSU) traded down $1.11 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $110.63. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,327,600 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,232,065. Kansas City Southern has a 1 year low of $79.05 and a 1 year high of $114.85. The stock has a market cap of $11,569.91, a PE ratio of 22.48, a P/E/G ratio of 1.65 and a beta of 0.86. The company has a current ratio of 0.69, a quick ratio of 0.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.51.

Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 20th. The transportation company reported $1.35 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.32 by $0.03. Kansas City Southern had a return on equity of 11.86% and a net margin of 21.42%. The firm had revenue of $653.00 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $651.95 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.12 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 8.0% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts expect that Kansas City Southern will post 5.22 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Kansas City Southern declared that its board has initiated a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, August 15th that authorizes the company to buyback $800.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the transportation company to purchase up to 7.1% 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.

In related news, SVP Mary K. Stadler sold 1,973 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $103.91, for a total transaction of $205,014.43. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 6,102 shares in the company, valued at approximately $634,058.82. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, COO Jeffrey M. Songer sold 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.80, for a total value of $335,400.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.95% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. QS Investors LLC grew its position in Kansas City Southern by 0.5% during the 2nd 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 lifted its holdings in Kansas City Southern by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Savant Capital LLC now owns 3,214 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $336,000 after buying an additional 13 shares during the period. Moors & Cabot Inc. lifted its holdings in Kansas City Southern by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. now owns 4,277 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $447,000 after buying an additional 51 shares during the period. Financial Counselors Inc. lifted its holdings in Kansas City Southern by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Financial Counselors Inc. now owns 12,230 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $1,280,000 after buying an additional 54 shares during the period. Finally, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS lifted its holdings in Kansas City Southern by 0.8% in the 2nd quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 7,975 shares of the transportation company’s stock worth $835,000 after buying an additional 64 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 83.62% of the company’s stock.

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Kansas City Southern Company Profile

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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