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What's in Store for Norfolk Southern (NSC) in Q2 Earnings?

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Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC - Free Report) is scheduled to report second-quarter 2021 results on Jul 28, before market open.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this earnings season.

Norfolk Southern Corporation Price and EPS Surprise

 

Norfolk Southern Corporation Price and EPS Surprise

Norfolk Southern Corporation price-eps-surprise | Norfolk Southern Corporation Quote

 

Volumes are likely to have been strong in second-quarter 2021 due to improvement in freight conditions in the United States. Notably, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for total carload volumes suggests 6.6% increase sequentially. This anticipated surge in volumes is expected to get reflected in total revenues. The consensus mark for revenues indicates 32% rise from the second-quarter 2020’s reported number.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for merchandise volumes indicates a 6.7% increase sequentially. The same for merchandise revenues suggests a 6.4% surge from first-quarter 2021’s reported number. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for coal revenues indicates a marginal increase, on a sequential basis.

Benefits from the PSR (precision scheduled railroading) model is likely to get reflected in the operating ratio (operating expenses, as a percentage of revenues). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for operating ratio is pegged at 60%, which suggests an improvement from first-quarter 2021’s reported figure of 62%. Notably, lower the value of the metric the better.

However, increase in fuel costs is likely to have hurt the railroad company’s second-quarter bottom line.

What Does the Zacks Model Say?

Our proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for Norfolk Southern this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat. However, that is not the case here as elaborated below. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Earnings ESP: Norfolk Southern has an Earnings ESP of -0.16% as the Most Accurate Estimate is pegged at $2.93, lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.94. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: Norfolk Southern carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Highlights of Q1 Earnings

Norfolk Southern's first-quarter earnings of $2.66 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.55. Moreover, the bottom line increased 3.1% year over year on lower costs. The company’s railway operating revenues in the quarter under review came in at $2,639 million, outperforming the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,613.8 million. The top line inched up approximately 1% year over year owing to 3% rise in volumes.

Stocks to Consider

Investors interested in the broader Transportation  sector may also consider Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (HA - Free Report) , Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP - Free Report) and Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT - Free Report) . These stocks too possess the right combination of elements to beat on earnings this reporting cycle.

Hawaiian Holdings has an Earnings ESP of +2.93% and is Zacks #3 Ranked, presently. The company will release second-quarter 2021 results on Jul 27.

Canadian Pacific has an Earnings ESP of +0.71% and carries a Zacks Rank #3 at present. The company will release second-quarter 2021 results on Jul 28.

Allegiant has an Earnings ESP of +12.39% and is currently a #3 Ranked player. The company will release second-quarter 2021 results on Jul 28.