Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) reported earnings on Jan. 22. Here are the numbers you need to know.

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.

Revenue details
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 details
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.

Margin details
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.

Looking ahead
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.

Investor sentiment
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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