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

Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) was the target of a significant decrease in short interest during 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 volume of 1,760,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.0 days. Currently, 1.3% of the shares of the company are sold short.

NSC has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Norfolk Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 17th. Cascend Securities downgraded shares of Norfolk Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 17th. Morgan Stanley set a $130.00 price target on shares of Norfolk Southern and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 8th. Argus increased their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $210.00 to $220.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 7th. Finally, Barclays increased their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $200.00 to $210.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, April 25th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $205.83.

In other news, Chairman James A. Squires sold 3,024 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $204.71, for a total value of $619,043.04. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Jennifer F. Scanlon purchased 525 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 29th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $191.52 per share, for a total transaction of $100,548.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 525 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $100,548. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 0.19% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of NSC. Eagle Global Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 2.0% in the first quarter. Eagle Global Advisors LLC now owns 2,550 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $477,000 after purchasing an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 3.7% in the first quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. now owns 1,394 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $260,000 after purchasing an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Alera Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 4.8% in the first quarter. Alera Investment Advisors LLC now owns 1,129 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $211,000 after purchasing an additional 52 shares during the last quarter. Telemus Capital LLC grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 3.5% in the first quarter. Telemus Capital LLC now owns 1,618 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $302,000 after purchasing an additional 55 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bigelow Investment Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Norfolk Southern by 1.0% in the second quarter. Bigelow Investment Advisors LLC now owns 5,409 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $1,078,000 after acquiring an additional 55 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.49% of the company’s stock.

NYSE NSC traded up $2.97 on Tuesday, reaching $177.50. 1,689,180 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,682,422. Norfolk Southern has a 12 month low of $138.65 and a 12 month high of $211.46. The company has a current ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 0.68 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $193.02. The firm has a market cap of $45.98 billion, a PE ratio of 18.66, a PEG ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 1.31.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 24th. The railroad operator reported $2.70 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 business had revenue of $2.93 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.95 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $2.50 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that Norfolk Southern will post 10.67 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 10th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 5th will be given a dividend of $0.94 per share. This is a boost from Norfolk Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.86. This represents a $3.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.12%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 2nd. Norfolk Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 39.54%.

Norfolk Southern Company Profile

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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