Norfolk Southern Corp. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. Norfolk Southern 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 profit of $1.42 per share, a rise of 19.3% 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 $1.37. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has dropped from $1.43 during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 30.7% versus last year to $5.11.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company topped estimates by 0 cents, coming in at net income of $1.38 per share against a mean estimate of profit of $1.29. The company fell in line with estimates in the first quarter.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 16.3% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $2.86 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 16 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and eight rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit rose 42.1% to $557 million ($1.56 a share) from $392 million ($1.04 a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 17.9% to $2.87 billion from $2.43 billion.

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 16.9%, with the biggest boost coming in the third quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose 19% from the year earlier quarter.

The company has seen net income rise in three straight quarters. Net income rose 26.5% in the first quarter and 30.9% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

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

Stock Price Performance: During September 22, 2011 to October 20, 2011, the stock price had risen $8.35 (13.8%) from $60.44 to $68.79. 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% (+$4.32) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between July 28, 2011 and August 4, 2011 when shares fell for six-straight days, falling 9.5% (-$7.20) over that span. Shares are up $7.07 (+11.5%) year to date.

(Source: Xignite Financials)

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