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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Norfolk Southern Corp. hauled in 27 percent more profit in the first quarter as the railroad delivered 3 percent more freight and increased prices.

The Norfolk, Virginia-based company said it earned $552 million, or $1.93 per share, in the first quarter, but the volume increase led to slower rail traffic. That’s up from $433 million, or $1.48 per share, a year ago.

CEO Jim Squires said he’s optimistic about the year ahead, and he’s confident the railroad will be able to resolve its service problems.

“We’re looking at anything and everything we can do to improve efficiency and handle growth,” Squires said.

The results topped the $1.77 per share expected by the analysts Zacks Investment Research surveyed. The railroad’s shares gained 6 percent, or $8.09, to sell for $143.06 on Wednesday.

Norfolk Southern’s revenue increased nearly 6 percent to $2.72 billion in the quarter. The analysts Zacks surveyed expected $2.68 billion.

Edward Jones analyst Dan Sherman said Norfolk Southern benefited from an 8 percent increase in intermodal shipments during the quarter. He said the question going forward is how well the railroad can handle the increase in volume.

Norfolk Southern shares have declined almost 7 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has fallen 1.5 percent. The stock has climbed 15 percent in the last 12 months.

Norfolk Southern operates about 20,000 miles of track in 22 states and the District of Columbia.


Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights ( using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on NSC at