Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $109.00 price target on the railroad operator’s stock.
According to Zacks, “We are impressed by Norfolk Southern’s focus on rewarding shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. The company's cost-cutting efforts to drive the bottom-line is also encouraging. For 2016, the company is targeting productivity savings of at least $200 million and an operating ratio below 70%. Additionally, the inauguration of the expanded 102-year old Panama Canal might prove to be beneficial for the company due to the likely increase in container traffic at East Coast ports. However, concerns related to top line growth remain due to weak energy markets and low coal shipments in U.S. The company is scheduled to report third quarter results on Oct 26.”
A number of other equities research analysts have also commented on NSC. Deutsche Bank AG decreased their price objective on Norfolk Southern Corp. from $90.00 to $89.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, July 28th. Atlantic Securities began coverage on Norfolk Southern Corp. in a report on Thursday, August 11th. They set a neutral rating and a $104.00 price target for the company. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. began coverage on Norfolk Southern Corp. in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. They set a market perform rating for the company. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a market perform rating and set a $93.00 price target on shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. in a report on Thursday, July 7th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. reiterated a hold rating and set a $87.00 price target on shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. in a report on Friday, June 17th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $89.62.
Shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) traded down 0.67% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $96.13. 753,693 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $93.61 and a 200-day moving average price of $88.08. The company has a market capitalization of $28.22 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.01 and a beta of 1.27. Norfolk Southern Corp. has a 1-year low of $64.51 and a 1-year high of $98.75.
Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The railroad operator reported $1.36 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.01. Norfolk Southern Corp. had a return on equity of 13.34% and a net margin of 15.88%. The firm earned $2.45 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.51 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.41 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 9.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Norfolk Southern Corp. will post $5.46 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Saturday, September 10th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 8th were paid a $0.59 dividend. This represents a $2.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.44%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 4th. Norfolk Southern Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 44.19%.
In other news, VP James A. Hixon sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $94.15, for a total transaction of $941,500.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 129,074 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $12,152,317.10. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Thomas E. Hurlbut sold 1,017 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $89.30, for a total value of $90,818.10. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 12,597 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,124,912.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.66% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of NSC. Sun Life Financial INC purchased a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. during the first quarter valued at about $72,344,000. Zions Bancorporation raised its position in shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. by 90.4% in the second quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 1,369 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 650 shares during the period. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. raised its position in shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. by 165.5% in the second quarter. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. now owns 1,460 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 910 shares during the period. ClariVest Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. during the second quarter valued at about $125,000. Finally, Oakworth Capital Inc. raised its position in shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. by 46.5% in the second quarter. Oakworth Capital Inc. now owns 1,748 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $147,000 after buying an additional 555 shares during the period. 67.90% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Norfolk Southern Corp. Company Profile
Norfolk Southern Corporation is a holding company engaged in the rail transportation business. The Company operates approximately 20,000 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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