Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) Sees Significant Decrease in Short Interest

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Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) was the recipient of a significant decrease in short interest in the month of July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,516,400 shares, a decrease of 18.2% from the June 30th total of 4,299,700 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,760,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.0 days. Currently, 1.3% of the company’s shares are short sold.

Several equities analysts recently weighed in on the company. Argus increased their target price on Norfolk Southern from $210.00 to $220.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 7th. Barclays raised their price objective on Norfolk Southern from $200.00 to $210.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, April 25th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $226.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Thursday, May 9th. ValuEngine downgraded Norfolk Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 17th. Finally, Cowen restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $230.00 price objective (up from $200.00) on shares of Norfolk Southern in a report on Wednesday, April 24th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Norfolk Southern has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $205.83.

Shares of Norfolk Southern stock traded down $1.24 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $169.85. The stock had a trading volume of 2,002,952 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,684,488. The company has a current ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 0.68 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72. Norfolk Southern has a 1 year low of $138.65 and a 1 year high of $211.46. The firm has a market capitalization of $44.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.86, a P/E/G ratio of 1.41 and a beta of 1.31. The firm has a 50 day simple moving average of $191.82 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $190.82.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 24th. The railroad operator reported $2.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.77 by ($0.07). Norfolk Southern had a net margin of 24.15% and a return on equity of 18.24%. The company had revenue of $2.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.95 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $2.50 EPS. Norfolk Southern’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts forecast that Norfolk Southern will post 10.67 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 10th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 5th will be paid a $0.94 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 2nd. This represents a $3.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.21%. This is a positive change from Norfolk Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.86. Norfolk Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 39.54%.

In other Norfolk Southern news, Director Jennifer F. Scanlon bought 525 shares of Norfolk Southern stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 29th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $191.52 per share, for a total transaction of $100,548.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 525 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $100,548. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman James A. Squires sold 3,024 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $204.71, for a total value of $619,043.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in shares of Norfolk Southern by 0.5% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 19,837,509 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $3,954,210,000 after buying an additional 88,933 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its stake in Norfolk Southern by 3.5% during the 1st quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 12,864,410 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $2,404,230,000 after purchasing an additional 430,110 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC grew its stake in Norfolk Southern by 27.4% during the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 9,875,360 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $1,845,606,000 after purchasing an additional 2,123,713 shares in the last quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC grew its stake in Norfolk Southern by 27.7% during the 1st quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 7,333,967 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $1,370,644,000 after purchasing an additional 1,592,303 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Norfolk Southern by 7.1% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 3,364,851 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $502,245,000 after purchasing an additional 221,780 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.49% of the company’s stock.

About Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods. The company transports industrial products, including chemicals, agriculture, and metals and construction materials; and coal, automobiles, and automotive parts.

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