Signaling potentially good things for the larger economy, Eastern hauler CSX
The railroad operator unloaded a 48% surge in fourth-quarter earnings, delivering EPS of $1.14 that easily beat analysts' expectations for $1.09. It appears that the company's $1.5 billion share-repurchasing spree last year is paying off on a per-share basis. With so many companies recently diluting shareholders to tap capital when bank credit tightened, it's refreshing to see an outfit like CSX removing more than 5% of shares outstanding, especially during a year that also saw two dividend increases.
CSX's operating ratio crept upward sequentially, from 69.1% in the third quarter to 70% in the fourth. Still, the company targeted a "high-60s" performance for 2011 -- while reiterating its aim to achieve 65% by 2015.
When I examined western counterpart Union Pacific's
CSX's comparable coal volumes for all of 2010, meanwhile, equaled those from 2009. Even though eastern met-coal leaders like Alpha Natural Resources
With earnings results from leaders like Canadian National Railway
Fool contributor Christopher Barker can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares of CONSOL Energy. Canadian National Railway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.