The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Norfolk Southern missed slightly on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.
Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased significantly, and earnings per share grew significantly.
Margins increased across the board.
Norfolk Southern booked revenue of $2.8 billion. The 18 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ predicted revenue of $2.8 billion. Sales were 17% higher than the prior-year quarter's $2.4 billion.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $1.39. The 25 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $1.40 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $1.42 for Q4 were 30% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.09 per share.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.
For the quarter, gross margin was 62.7%, 2,720 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 28.6%, 130 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 17.2%, 40 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.8 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.23.
Next year's average estimate for revenue is $11.9 billion. The average EPS estimate is $5.98.
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 1,084 members out of 1,112 rating the stock outperform, and 28 members rating it underperform. Among 353 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 347 give Norfolk Southern a green thumbs-up, and six give it a red thumbs-down.
Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Norfolk Southern is outperform, with an average price target of $84.70.
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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. 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.