Investors Buy Union Pacific (UNP) on Weakness

Investors purchased shares of Union Pacific Co. (NYSE:UNP) on weakness during trading hours on Monday. $136.57 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $65.12 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $71.45 million into the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Union Pacific had the 8th highest net in-flow for the day. Union Pacific traded down ($1.87) for the day and closed at $167.63

Several brokerages have recently weighed in on UNP. Citigroup increased their target price on shares of Union Pacific from $180.00 to $195.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 4th. Loop Capital downgraded shares of Union Pacific from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and reduced their target price for the company from $193.00 to $182.00 in a research note on Tuesday, March 19th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Union Pacific from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 12th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Union Pacific from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 27th. Finally, TD Securities upped their price target on shares of Union Pacific from $155.00 to $170.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, January 25th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $170.16.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02, a quick ratio of 0.74 and a current ratio of 0.90. The firm has a market capitalization of $121.43 billion, a PE ratio of 21.42, a PEG ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 1.11.

Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, January 24th. The railroad operator reported $2.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.06 by $0.06. Union Pacific had a net margin of 26.13% and a return on equity of 27.95%. The company had revenue of $5.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.73 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.53 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Union Pacific Co. will post 8.98 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 29th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 28th were issued a dividend of $0.88 per share. This represents a $3.52 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.08%. This is a boost from Union Pacific’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.80. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, February 27th. Union Pacific’s dividend payout ratio is presently 44.50%.

Union Pacific declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, February 7th that allows the company to buyback 150,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the railroad operator to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Union Pacific news, VP Todd M. Rynaski sold 8,802 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $170.00, for a total transaction of $1,496,340.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 19,731 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,354,270. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Robert M. Knight, Jr. sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $170.01, for a total transaction of $1,700,100.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 94,943 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $16,141,259.43. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.20% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Union Pacific by 2.2% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 48,020,051 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $6,637,811,000 after purchasing an additional 1,029,260 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its position in shares of Union Pacific by 18,524.9% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 32,738,808 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $237,000 after purchasing an additional 32,563,028 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley raised its position in shares of Union Pacific by 5.7% in the 3rd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 15,894,983 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $2,588,181,000 after purchasing an additional 859,164 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Union Pacific by 7.7% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 9,640,019 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $1,330,401,000 after purchasing an additional 688,775 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp raised its position in Union Pacific by 3.4% during the 4th quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 8,284,737 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $1,145,199,000 after buying an additional 270,547 shares during the last quarter. 79.69% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP)

Union Pacific Corporation, through its subsidiary, Union Pacific Railroad Company, engages in the railroad business in the United States. It offers transportation services for agricultural products, including grains, commodities produced from grains, fertilizers, and food and beverage products; coal and sand, as well as petroleum, liquid petroleum gases, and renewables; and construction products, industrial chemicals, plastics, forest products, specialized products, metals and ores, and soda ash, as well as intermodal and finished vehicles.

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