Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Norfolk Southern's Earnings Support Improving Economic Picture

After the market close today, Norfolk Southern (NSC) reported earnings (PDF) that increased 58.7%. The earnings of $1.04 per share bettered year ago results of 66 cents per share. Additionally, the results were 5 cents higher than analyst expectations of 99 cents per share.

Revenue increased 30.9% to $2.4 billion. During the company's conference call tonight, NSC noted, "effectively, all T&E employees have been returned from furlough status and we've started hiring in areas where traffic levels dictate and based upon expected attrition." Lastly, NSC announced a 6% increase in the company's third quarter dividend to 36 cents per share versus 34 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

From HORAN Capital Advisors

Both FedEx (FDX) yesterday and United Parcel Service (UPS) last week, cited an improving business environment as reasons to raise their outlooks. Other rail companies have reported this earnings season that their business conditions are improving.

These reports are certainly positive signs for the economy. Worries still remain with high unemployment and government and municipal debt issues though. In the end, all the news is not bad and investors can selectively find attractive investments in the current market.

Disclosure: Our firm is long NSC


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