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CSX's Q4 Earnings Surpass Estimates, Revenues Slide Y/Y

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CSX Corporation's (CSX - Free Report) fourth-quarter 2020 earnings (excluding 5 cents from non-recurring items) of $1.04 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1. The bottom line improved 5.1% year over year due to impressive performance of the intermodal segment.
 
Total revenues of $2,825 million outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,747.5 million. However, the top line dipped 2.1% year over year owing to lower fuel surcharge revenues and coal volume declines.

Fourth-quarter operating income increased 5% to $1,215 million. Operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenues) improved to 57% from 60% in the prior-year quarter, thanks to reduced operating expenses. Notably, lower the value of the metric, the better. Total expenses declined 7% year over year in the reported quarter. Costs reduced primarily due to increased efficiency.

CSX Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

CSX Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

CSX Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | CSX Corporation Quote

Segmental Performance

Merchandise revenues were flat year over year at $1,864 million in the quarter under review. Merchandise volumes remained unaltered from the year-ago period.

Coal revenues plunged 18% year over year to $375 million in the reported quarter. Coal volumes contracted 9% due to lower domestic and export coal volumes.

Intermodal revenues climbed 6% year over year to $476 million. Volumes increased 11%, with both domestic and international shipments increasing as a result of tightening truck capacity among other factors.

Other revenues dropped 6% to $110 million in the reported quarter.

Liquidity & Share Buyback

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company exited the fourth quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $3,129 million compared with $958 million at the end of December 2019. Long-term debt totaled $16,304 million compared with $15,993 million at 2019-end. As of Dec 31, 2020, net cash provided by operating activities was $4,263 million, compared with $4,850 million in the year-earlier period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

As of Dec 31, 2020, CSX repurchased 13 million shares for $867 million.

Sectorial Snapshot

Let’s take a look at some of the other recently released earnings reports from companies within the Zacks Transportation sector.

United Airlines (UAL - Free Report) , carrying a Zacks Rank #3, incurred a loss (excluding 6 cents from non-recurring items) of $7 per share in the fourth quarter of 2020, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $6.56. Meanwhile, operating revenues of $3,412 million lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,420.4 million.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services JBHT, carrying a Zacks Rank #3, reported earnings of $1.44 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.27. Total operating revenues of $2,737.7 million also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,514.3 million.

Delta Air Lines DAL, carrying a Zacks Rank #3,  incurred a loss (excluding $1.34 from non-recurring items) of $2.53 per share in the fourth quarter of 2020, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $2.43. Total revenues of $3,973 million topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,754.5 million.

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