Norfolk Southern Corp. Second Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. Norfolk Southern Corp. is engaged in rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods.

Norfolk Southern Corp. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of $1.28 per share, a rise of 23.1% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from $1.23. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up, but has dropped from $1.29 during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting profit of $4.91 per share, a rise of 25.6% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: The company met estimates last quarter after beating the forecasts in the prior two. In the first quarter, the company reported net income of 90 cents per share versus a mean estimate of profit of 90 cents per share. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, the company beat estimates by 4 cents.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $2.75 billion in revenue this quarter, a rise of 13.2% from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $10.95 billion for the year, a rise of 15% from last year’s revenue of $9.52 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 19 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and eight rating it as a hold.

Key Stats:

The company has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past four quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 20.1%, with the biggest boost coming in the second quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose 30.9% from the year earlier quarter.

The company has now seen net income rise in three straight quarters. In the first quarter, net income rose 26.5% while it rose 30.9% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year and 46.9% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

The company’s gross margin shrank by five percentage points in the in the first quarter. Revenue rose 17.1% while cost of sales rose 33.8% to $1.04 billion from a year earlier.

Competitors to Watch: CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX), Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU), Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP), Providence & Worcester Railroad Co. (NASDAQ:PWX), Canadian National Railway (NYSE:CNI), Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (NYSE:CP), Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (NYSE:GWR), and RailAmerica, Inc. (NYSE:RA).

Stock Price Performance: During April 25, 2011 to July 20, 2011, the stock price had risen $8.41 (12.6%) from $66.68 to $75.09. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between February 3, 2011 and February 17, 2011 when shares rose for 11-straight days, rising 7.2% (+$4.35) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between May 10, 2011 and May 17, 2011 when shares fell for six-straight days, falling 4.5% (-$3.37) over that span. Shares are up $13.01 (+21%) year to date.

(Source: Xignite Financials)

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