Earnest Partners LLC decreased its position in Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) by 4.5% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 162,606 shares of the railroad operator’s stock after selling 7,747 shares during the quarter. Earnest Partners LLC owned approximately 0.06% of Norfolk Southern worth $23,562,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Patten Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Norfolk Southern by 533.7% in the third quarter. Patten Group Inc. now owns 55,343 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $1,135,000 after acquiring an additional 46,610 shares during the period. McCollum Christoferson Group LLC purchased a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern in the fourth quarter valued at about $5,675,000. Stonebridge Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern in the third quarter valued at about $296,000. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. increased its position in shares of Norfolk Southern by 29.2% in the fourth quarter. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. now owns 5,134 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $743,000 after acquiring an additional 1,161 shares during the period. Finally, Buckingham Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern in the third quarter valued at about $277,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.50% of the company’s stock.
In related news, Chairman James A. Squires sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $150.10, for a total transaction of $1,501,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Thomas E. Hurlbut sold 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $142.90, for a total transaction of $142,900.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 13,166 shares of company stock worth $1,958,040 in the last three months. 0.36% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 24th. The railroad operator reported $1.69 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.56 by $0.13. Norfolk Southern had a net margin of 51.22% and a return on equity of 14.16%. The business had revenue of $2.67 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.66 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.42 earnings per share. Norfolk Southern’s quarterly revenue was up 7.2% on a year-over-year basis. analysts expect that Norfolk Southern Corp. will post 8.43 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Saturday, March 10th. Investors of record on Friday, February 2nd were paid a dividend of $0.72 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 1st. This represents a $2.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.02%. This is a positive change from Norfolk Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. Norfolk Southern’s payout ratio is presently 15.38%.
A number of equities analysts have issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Norfolk Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday. Credit Suisse Group restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $166.00 price objective (down previously from $178.00) on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research report on Thursday, March 8th. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “sell” rating and issued a $137.00 price objective on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. Cowen reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $163.00 target price (down previously from $165.00) on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research note on Wednesday, February 28th. Finally, Loop Capital lifted their target price on shares of Norfolk Southern to $144.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, January 12th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $140.15.
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Norfolk Southern Profile
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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