Norfolk Southern’s 4Q profit slips 5% as railroad hauls less

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Norfolk Southern Corp.’s fourth-quarter profit declined 5% as the railroad hauled 9% less freight.

The Norfolk, Virginia-based company said Wednesday it made $666 million, or $2.55 per share, in the quarter. That’s down from $702 million net income, or $2.57 per share, a year earlier.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.29 per share.

The railroad’s revenue fell 7% to $2.69 billion in the period, which met Street forecasts.

Citi analyst Christian Wetherbee said the railroad did a good job controlling its expenses as volume slowed.

Norfolk Southern cut its expenses 5% to $1.73 billion in the quarter. The railroad is in the midst of reforming its operations to operate on a tighter schedule and move more freight with fewer people.

It said it expects revenue to be flat in 2020 because coal demand will remain weak while other shipping categories improve somewhat.

For the year, the company reported profit of $2.72 billion, or $10.25 per share. Revenue was reported as $11.3 billion.

Norfolk Southern operates about 19,500 miles of track in 22 states and the District of Columbia

Norfolk Southern shares gained nearly 5% to close at $214.83 on Wednesday._____

Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on NSC at https://www.zacks.com/ap/NSC

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