Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) Downgraded to “Neutral” at Citigroup

Citigroup downgraded shares of Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSCGet Rating) from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report released on Thursday morning, MarketBeat reports. They currently have $260.00 price objective on the railroad operator’s stock, down from their previous price objective of $345.00.

Other analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reduced their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $318.00 to $308.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a research report on Friday, April 8th. Susquehanna reduced their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $356.00 to $350.00 and set a positive rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, April 7th. Royal Bank of Canada upped their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $262.00 to $273.00 in a research report on Thursday, January 27th. TD Securities upped their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $300.00 to $305.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, April 28th. Finally, Susquehanna Bancshares reduced their price target on shares of Norfolk Southern from $356.00 to $350.00 in a research report on Thursday, April 7th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat.com, the company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $304.41.

Shares of NYSE:NSC opened at $228.86 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $54.54 billion, a PE ratio of 18.47, a P/E/G ratio of 1.58 and a beta of 1.36. The company has a current ratio of 0.96, a quick ratio of 0.87 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02. Norfolk Southern has a twelve month low of $222.54 and a twelve month high of $299.20. The firm has a 50 day simple moving average of $262.45 and a 200-day simple moving average of $272.57.

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

Norfolk Southern declared that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Tuesday, March 29th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the railroad operator to purchase up to 14.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 20th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 6th were paid a dividend of $1.24 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, May 5th. This represents a $4.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.17%. Norfolk Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 40.03%.

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

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern during the 4th quarter worth about $625,050,000. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 7.4% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,718,778 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $4,977,349,000 after acquiring an additional 1,148,493 shares during the period. Capital International Investors lifted its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 11.4% during the 1st quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 6,350,959 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $1,811,813,000 after acquiring an additional 652,048 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP lifted its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 101.5% during the 1st quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 933,355 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $266,212,000 after acquiring an additional 470,128 shares during the period. Finally, Allspring Global Investments Holdings LLC purchased a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern during the 4th quarter worth about $134,586,000. Institutional investors own 73.63% of the company’s stock.

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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