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What: Shares of railcar company Greenbrier Companies Inc. (NYSE:GBX) surged 12.7% higher in July after announcing better-than-expected earnings. But the results still showed an overall decline in the business.

So what: Revenue fell 14% in the second quarter of 2016 to $612.9 million and net income fell 17% to $35.4 million, or $1.12 per share. But analysts were only expecting earnings of $1.09 per share, so the results weren't as bad.

A decline in oil shipment demand by rail is a big driver of the slump in demand, but investors anticipated a drop and that's why Greenbrier could beat estimates.

Now what: If the shipping industry doesn't suffer much more, Greenbrier could be a great value for investors going forward. Analysts forecast $5.81 per share in earnings this year, meaning shares trade at just 5.4 times this year's earnings estimate. That's a good value that prices in some downside performance. But with management cutting costs to preserve the bottom line, it could be a more profitable year ahead than many investors were expecting.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.