Norfolk Southern Co. (NYSE:NSC) Given Consensus Recommendation of “Buy” by Brokerages

Shares of Norfolk Southern Co. (NYSE:NSCGet Rating) have been assigned a consensus rating of “Buy” from the nineteen research firms that are covering the firm, Marketbeat.com reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, five have issued a hold recommendation and ten have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 1 year target price among analysts that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $309.41.

NSC has been the subject of several analyst reports. Susquehanna cut their price target on Norfolk Southern from $356.00 to $350.00 and set a “positive” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, April 7th. The Goldman Sachs Group upped their price target on Norfolk Southern from $313.00 to $320.00 in a research note on Wednesday, January 26th. Susquehanna Bancshares cut their price target on Norfolk Southern from $356.00 to $350.00 in a research note on Thursday, April 7th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $299.00 price target for the company in a research note on Tuesday, March 29th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada increased their price objective on Norfolk Southern from $262.00 to $273.00 in a research report on Thursday, January 27th.

In related news, Director Steven F. Leer sold 700 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, March 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $265.51, for a total transaction of $185,857.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, President Alan H. Shaw sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $256.70, for a total value of $256,700.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.31% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Arlington Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Norfolk Southern in the 4th quarter worth about $27,000. Vectors Research Management LLC boosted its stake in Norfolk Southern by 468.8% in the 4th quarter. Vectors Research Management LLC now owns 91 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $27,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. First Community Trust NA acquired a new stake in Norfolk Southern in the 4th quarter worth about $30,000. Blume Capital Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Norfolk Southern in the 1st quarter worth about $29,000. Finally, Concord Wealth Partners boosted its stake in Norfolk Southern by 2,300.0% in the 1st quarter. Concord Wealth Partners now owns 120 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $34,000 after buying an additional 115 shares during the last quarter. 73.63% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of NSC stock traded up $4.60 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $251.70. The stock had a trading volume of 1,066,083 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,418,205. The firm has a market capitalization of $59.99 billion, a PE ratio of 20.31, a PEG ratio of 1.72 and a beta of 1.36. Norfolk Southern has a twelve month low of $238.62 and a twelve month high of $299.20. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $264.62 and its 200 day moving average is $273.83. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02, a current ratio of 0.96 and a quick ratio of 0.87.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSCGet Rating) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 27th. The railroad operator reported $2.93 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.91 by $0.02. Norfolk Southern had a return on equity of 21.95% and a net margin of 26.58%. The business had revenue of $2.92 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.83 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $2.66 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 10.5% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities analysts predict that Norfolk Southern will post 13.81 earnings per share for the current year.

Norfolk Southern declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, March 29th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the railroad operator to reacquire up to 14.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 20th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 6th will be given a $1.24 dividend. This represents a $4.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.97%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 5th. Norfolk Southern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 40.03%.

About Norfolk Southern (Get Rating)

Norfolk Southern Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods in the United States. The company transports agriculture, forest, and consumer products comprising soybeans, wheat, corn, fertilizers, livestock and poultry feed, food products, food oils, flour, sweeteners, ethanol, lumber and wood products, pulp board and paper products, wood fibers, wood pulp, scrap paper, beverages, canned goods, and consumer products; chemicals consist of sulfur and related chemicals, petroleum products, chlorine and bleaching compounds, plastics, rubber, industrial chemicals, chemical wastes, and sand; metals and construction materials, such as steel, aluminum products, machinery, scrap metals, cement, aggregates, minerals, clay, transportation equipment, and military-related products; and automotive, including finished motor vehicles and automotive parts, as well as coal.

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