Norfolk Souther Corporation (NYSE:NSC) released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The railroad operator reported $1.75 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.64 by $0.11, MarketWatch Earnings reports. Norfolk Souther Corporation had a net margin of 17.86% and a return on equity of 14.72%. The company had revenue of $2.67 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.65 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.55 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis.
Shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation (NSC) traded down $0.84 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $127.15. 1,301,000 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,784,874. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 0.73 and a current ratio of 0.83. Norfolk Souther Corporation has a 52-week low of $98.92 and a 52-week high of $134.52. The firm has a market cap of $36,624.18, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.12, a P/E/G ratio of 1.65 and a beta of 1.37.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 11th. Stockholders of record on Friday, November 3rd will be issued a $0.61 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 2nd. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.92%. Norfolk Souther Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 38.36%.
Norfolk Souther Corporation declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, September 26th that authorizes the company to repurchase 50,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the railroad operator to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
In other news, Chairman James A. Squires sold 24,407 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $119.95, for a total value of $2,927,619.65. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 76,481 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,173,895.95. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, COO Michael Joseph Wheeler sold 2,370 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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 completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 13,492 shares in the company, valued at $1,601,230.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 30,645 shares of company stock worth $3,719,075. Company insiders own 0.36% of the company’s stock.
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NSC has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “underweight” rating and issued a $75.00 price objective (down previously from $77.00) on shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation in a report on Monday, October 2nd. ValuEngine raised shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $117.00 price objective on shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation in a report on Tuesday, August 29th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $124.00 price objective on shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation in a report on Tuesday, September 12th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $143.00 target price (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. Norfolk Souther Corporation currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $127.70.
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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