Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $162.00 target price on the railroad operator’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Sluggish overall volumes due to the Sino-U.S. trade war, unfavorable spot truck and commodity pricing have been hurting Norfolk Southern for quite some time. Consequently, overall volumes dipped 3% in the first nine months of 2019 with the same declining 8%, 3% and 2% at the coal, merchandise and intermodal units, respectively. Also, revenues at the coal and intermodal units decreased 4% and 1% respectively in the same period. Due to this slackened environment, the company expects to witness 2019 operating ratio improvement below its previous forecast level. The company's high-debt levels are worrisome as well. Given the above-mentioned headwinds, shares of Norfolk Southern have underperformed the industry it belongs to over the past six months. However, we are impressed with the efforts to reward its shareholders through dividends and buybacks.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on NSC. Cowen restated a buy rating and issued a $215.00 price objective on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research note on Wednesday, October 23rd. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Norfolk Southern from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 30th. Bank of America lowered shares of Norfolk Southern from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $198.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, October 23rd. UBS Group dropped their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $230.00 to $216.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, September 17th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co started coverage on shares of Norfolk Southern in a report on Monday, October 28th. They issued a market perform rating and a $216.00 price objective for the company. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $203.76.

Shares of NYSE:NSC opened at $186.21 on Tuesday. The company has a market capitalization of $50.45 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.58, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 1.38. The company’s 50-day moving average is $189.57 and its 200 day moving average is $188.07. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 0.63 and a current ratio of 0.73. Norfolk Southern has a fifty-two week low of $138.65 and a fifty-two week high of $211.46.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 23rd. The railroad operator reported $2.49 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.57 by ($0.08). The company had revenue of $2.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.86 billion. Norfolk Southern had a return on equity of 18.22% and a net margin of 23.98%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $2.52 EPS. As a group, research analysts predict that Norfolk Southern will post 10.23 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 10th. Investors of record on Friday, November 1st will be paid a $0.94 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 31st. This represents a $3.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.02%. Norfolk Southern’s dividend payout ratio is presently 39.54%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NSC. Krane Funds Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Norfolk Southern in the 2nd quarter valued at about $26,000. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. grew its position in Norfolk Southern by 159.5% during the 3rd quarter. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. now owns 192 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $34,000 after acquiring an additional 118 shares during the last quarter. Prestige Wealth Management Group LLC purchased a new position in Norfolk Southern in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $35,000. Vigilant Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Norfolk Southern in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $36,000. Finally, AGF Investments LLC lifted its position in Norfolk Southern by 173.5% in the second quarter. AGF Investments LLC now owns 186 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $37,000 after purchasing an additional 118 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 71.53% of the company’s stock.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)

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