Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) reported earnings on Jan. 22. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Kansas City Southern met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased and GAAP earnings per share dropped.

Gross margins grew, operating margins expanded, net margins contracted.

Revenue details
Kansas City Southern booked revenue of $568.4 million. The 15 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ predicted sales of $565.5 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 7.2% higher than the prior-year quarter's $530.3 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.92. The 23 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.82 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.83 for Q4 were 4.6% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.87 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 39.7%, 250 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 30.5%, 210 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 16.2%, 180 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $587.3 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.89.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $2.47 billion. The average EPS estimate is $4.07.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 437 members out of 450 rating the stock outperform, and 13 members rating it underperform. Among 120 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 119 give Kansas City Southern a green thumbs-up, and one give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Kansas City Southern is hold, with an average price target of $86.28.

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