Norfolk Souther Corporation (NSC) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Norfolk Souther Corporation (NYSE:NSC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday, November 2nd.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Norfolk Southern have outperformed its industry so far this year. Ushering in further good news, the company reported better-than-expected revenues and earnings per share in the third quarter of 2017. Both metrics improved on a year-over-year basis. Overall volumes grew 4% on the back of impressive performances at key segments like coal and intermodal.The company is looking to cut costs in order to drive the bottom line. It registered a record operating ratio of 65.9% in the quarter. The metric improved 160 basis points from the year-ago quarter. Norfolk Southern aims to achieve an operating ratio of below 65% by 2020 or even earlier. Automotive volume, however, decreased in the quarter due to sluggish vehicle production in the United States.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on NSC. BidaskClub raised shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 10th. UBS AG restated a “buy” rating and issued a $133.00 price objective on shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation in a report on Monday, August 14th. Cowen and Company restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $130.00 price objective on shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation in a report on Tuesday, August 1st. Wolfe Research upgraded shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation from a “market perform” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $126.00 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, August 7th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company lowered shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, October 16th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $127.62.

Norfolk Souther Corporation (NYSE NSC) opened at $129.10 on Thursday. Norfolk Souther Corporation has a 52 week low of $102.77 and a 52 week high of $134.52. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a current ratio of 0.83 and a quick ratio of 0.73. The firm has a market cap of $36,940.00, a PE ratio of 20.05, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.64 and a beta of 1.37.

Norfolk Souther Corporation (NYSE:NSC) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The railroad operator reported $1.75 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.64 by $0.11. Norfolk Souther Corporation had a net margin of 17.86% and a return on equity of 14.72%. The business had revenue of $2.67 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.65 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.55 EPS. Norfolk Souther Corporation’s revenue was up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts anticipate that Norfolk Souther Corporation will post 6.48 EPS for the current year.

Norfolk Souther Corporation announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, September 26th that allows the company to repurchase 50,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the railroad operator to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other Norfolk Souther Corporation news, COO Michael Joseph Wheeler sold 2,370 shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation stock in a transaction on Friday, August 25th. The shares were 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 directly owns 13,492 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,601,230.56. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Thomas E. Hurlbut sold 300 shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $118.80, for a total transaction of $35,640.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 4,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $475,200. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 6,238 shares of company stock worth $791,456 in the last 90 days. 0.36% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of NSC. D Orazio & Associates Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation by 0.5% during the first quarter. D Orazio & Associates Inc. now owns 891 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $100,000 after purchasing an additional 4 shares during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Norfolk Souther Corporation by 12,069.6% during the second quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC now owns 12,413 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $102,000 after purchasing an additional 12,311 shares during the period. Krilogy Financial LLC lifted its stake in Norfolk Souther Corporation by 2.6% in the second quarter. Krilogy Financial LLC now owns 855 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $104,000 after acquiring an additional 22 shares during the period. AlphaMark Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Norfolk Souther Corporation by 20.7% in the second quarter. AlphaMark Advisors LLC now owns 875 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $106,000 after acquiring an additional 150 shares during the period. Finally, Parallel Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Norfolk Souther Corporation by 29.2% in the first quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 974 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $114,000 after acquiring an additional 220 shares during the period. 71.63% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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