CSX Corporation's First-Quarter Earnings Fall, but 2014 Growth Expected

Weather impacted CSX Corporation's first-quarter results but management still thinks the company will grow the bottom line in 2014.

Travis Hoium
Travis Hoium
Apr 15, 2014 at 4:55PM
Industrials

Railroad traffic picked up slightly in the first quarter and that resulted in better-than-expected earnings for railroad operator CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX), which reported results this afternoon.

Overall volume was up 3% in the first quarter and revenue grew 2% to $3.0 billion. But bad weather throughout the quarter resulted in a 16% decline in operating profit to $739 million, and net income fell 14% to $398 million, or $0.40 per share. CSX estimated that weather-related disruptions increased expenses by approximately $0.06 per share, and impacted revenue contribution by about $0.02 to $0.03. Analysts had already priced in the bad weather, expecting earnings of $0.37 per share, so the declining results weren't a huge shock.  

The rest of 2014 is expected to improve significantly because management still expects "modest full-year earnings growth for 2014". One of the drivers will be stronger demand for coal, which is gaining some demand because natural gas prices have risen sharply this winter.

Confidence in improving earnings throughout the year has also given CSX confidence to increase its dividend 7% to $0.16 per share quarterly. That's a 2.3% dividend yield for investors at today's closing price, which is solid given the stability of the rail business.