Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) Sets New 1-Year High Following Analyst Upgrade

Norfolk Southern Co. (NYSE:NSC)’s stock price reached a new 52-week high during trading on Tuesday after Argus raised their price target on the stock from $275.00 to $310.00. Argus currently has a buy rating on the stock. Norfolk Southern traded as high as $288.07 and last traded at $287.68, with a volume of 1311281 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $283.06.

A number of other research firms also recently commented on NSC. Cowen raised their price objective on shares of Norfolk Southern from $224.00 to $254.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, January 28th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $145.00 to $165.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 13th. Barclays lifted their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $272.00 to $300.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, April 29th. Robert W. Baird raised shares of Norfolk Southern from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $286.00 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, January 12th. Finally, Benchmark lifted their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $295.00 to $315.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, April 29th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $259.24.

In other Norfolk Southern news, EVP Ann A. Adams sold 2,460 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $255.00, for a total transaction of $627,300.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 9,601 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,448,255. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Compton Wealth Advisory Group LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Norfolk Southern during the 1st quarter worth approximately $223,000. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. grew its position in shares of Norfolk Southern by 27.6% during the 1st quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 219,167 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $58,851,000 after buying an additional 47,458 shares during the period. Institute for Wealth Management LLC. acquired a new stake in shares of Norfolk Southern during the 1st quarter worth approximately $216,000. Great Diamond Partners LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Norfolk Southern during the 1st quarter worth approximately $221,000. Finally, Commonwealth Equity Services LLC grew its position in shares of Norfolk Southern by 1.5% during the 1st quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC now owns 135,518 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $36,389,000 after buying an additional 1,995 shares during the period. 67.25% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

The firm’s 50-day moving average is $271.68 and its 200-day moving average is $248.06. The company has a current ratio of 1.29, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85. The firm has a market cap of $71.99 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 37.02, a P/E/G ratio of 3.09 and a beta of 1.38.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 28th. The railroad operator reported $2.66 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.55 by $0.11. Norfolk Southern had a net margin of 20.27% and a return on equity of 15.83%. The business had revenue of $2.64 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.62 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $2.58 EPS. Norfolk Southern’s revenue was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Norfolk Southern Co. will post 9.1 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, May 20th. Investors of record on Friday, May 7th will be given a $0.99 dividend. This represents a $3.96 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.38%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 6th. Norfolk Southern’s payout ratio is currently 38.30%.

About Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)

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 industrial products, including agriculture, forest and consumer products, chemicals, and metals and construction materials; and coal, automobiles, and automotive parts.

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