Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage presently has a $162.00 price objective on the railroad operator’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target suggests a potential downside of 13.01% from the stock’s current price.

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 research firms have also recently commented on NSC. Barclays decreased their target price on shares of Norfolk Southern from $200.00 to $195.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, October 24th. Bank of America cut shares of Norfolk Southern from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $198.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, October 23rd. Cowen restated a “buy” rating and set a $215.00 price objective on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research report on Wednesday, October 23rd. Wells Fargo & Co initiated coverage on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research note on Monday, October 28th. They set a “market perform” rating and a $216.00 target price on the stock. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Norfolk Southern from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 30th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $203.76.

NSC traded down $3.85 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $186.22. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 122,992 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,340,101. The business’s 50 day simple moving average is $189.42 and its 200-day simple moving average is $188.14. The firm has a market cap of $50.45 billion, a PE ratio of 19.57, a P/E/G ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 1.38. Norfolk Southern has a one year low of $138.65 and a one year high of $211.46. The company has a quick ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 0.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last issued 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). Norfolk Southern had a net margin of 23.98% and a return on equity of 18.22%. The business had revenue of $2.84 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.86 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $2.52 EPS. The company’s revenue was down 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Norfolk Southern will post 10.23 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Rational Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 755.2% in the 2nd quarter. Rational Advisors LLC now owns 821 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $164,000 after acquiring an additional 725 shares during the last quarter. Hayden Royal LLC lifted its position in Norfolk Southern by 16.3% in the second quarter. Hayden Royal LLC now owns 1,297 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $261,000 after buying an additional 182 shares during the last quarter. Coastal Investment Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Norfolk Southern by 139.6% during the second quarter. Coastal Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 841 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $166,000 after buying an additional 490 shares during the period. FTB Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Norfolk Southern by 12.4% during the second quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 6,164 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $1,227,000 after buying an additional 679 shares during the period. Finally, LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in Norfolk Southern during the second quarter valued at $211,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors 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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