The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Norfolk Southern met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.
Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue shrank and GAAP earnings per share dropped.
Margins dropped across the board.
Norfolk Southern tallied revenue of $2.68 billion. The 21 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ foresaw a top line of $2.67 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 4.0% lower than the prior-year quarter's $2.80 billion.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.
EPS came in at $1.30. The 25 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $1.20 per share. GAAP EPS of $1.30 for Q4 were 8.5% lower than the prior-year quarter's $1.42 per share.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.
For the quarter, gross margin was 35.3%, 120 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 26.6%, 170 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 15.4%, 180 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.76 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.17.
Next year's average estimate for revenue is $11.30 billion. The average EPS estimate is $5.60.
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 1,230 members out of 1,262 rating the stock outperform, and 32 members rating it underperform. Among 368 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 363 give Norfolk Southern a green thumbs-up, and five 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 $73.43.
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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. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.