Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) reported earnings on Oct. 19. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Sep. 30 (Q3), Kansas City Southern met expectations on revenues and missed estimates on earnings per share.

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

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

Revenue details
Kansas City Southern tallied revenue of $577.4 million. The 17 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ hoped for sales of $577.8 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 6.0% higher than the prior-year quarter's $544.5 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 $0.82. The 20 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.85 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.82 for Q3 were 9.9% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.91 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 39.9%, 240 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 31.3%, 260 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 15.6%, 270 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $573.4 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.88.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $2.25 billion. The average EPS estimate is $3.29.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 432 members out of 447 rating the stock outperform, and 15 members rating it underperform. Among 100 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 99 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 outperform, with an average price target of $80.94.

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.