CSX Corporation (CSX - Free Report) saw its revenue fall in the fourth quarter as coal remains a headwind. This Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) is expected to see little earnings growth in 2020.
CSX is an east coast railroad based in Jacksonville, Florida. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services to customers in many markets including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural and consumer products.
A Beat in the Fourth Quarter
On Jan 16, CSX reported its fourth quarter 2019 results and beat the Zacks Consensus by $0.02, reporting $0.99 versus the consensus of $0.97.
It was the second beat in a row, after the company had posted a rare miss in the second quarter of 2019.
Revenue fell 8% to $2.89 billion due to lower volumes and a negative mix from coal market headwinds.
However, expenses fell 9% to $1.73 billion, drive by continued efficiency gains.
Guidance Light for 2020
Volumes are expected to be flat to down 2% in 2020 as coal is expected to remain a headwind at least through the first half of 2020.
As a result, the analysts have been lowering both 2020 and 2021 estimates.
For 2020, 7 estimates were lowered, and one raised, in the last 30 days which pushed the Zacks Consensus down to $4.20 from $4.46 just 90 days. That's earnings growth that is up just 0.7% as the company made $4.17 in 2019.
These cuts are the reason for the Zacks Rank of Strong Sell.
Estimates for 2021 were also cut in the last month, pushing the 2021 Zacks Consensus down to $4.54 from $4.79 during that time period. That's a rebound in earnings.
Shares Up Year-to-Date
Investors haven't soured on the rails, even as some have had a slowdown in volumes. CSX shares are up 5.9% year-to-date even as the estimates were being cut.
It still has attractive valuations, with a forward P/E of 18.1.
It also pays a dividend, currently yielding 1.3%.
The Zacks Rank is terrible in the entire industry. None of the railroads are a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) stock.
Canadian Pacific Railway (CP - Free Report) , Kansas City Southern (KSU - Free Report) and Norfolk Southern (NSC - Free Report) have the best Ranks and all are Zacks Rank #3 (Holds).
Look for a turnaround in the earnings estimates on this group around the middle of the year.
Looking for Stocks with Skyrocketing Upside?
Zacks has just released a Special Report on the booming investment opportunities of legal marijuana.
Ignited by new referendums and legislation, this industry is expected to blast from an already robust $6.7 billion to $20.2 billion in 2021. Early investors stand to make a killing, but you have to be ready to act and know just where to look.
See the pot trades we're targeting>>