Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) shares hit a new 52-week high during trading on Friday . The company traded as high as $177.85 and last traded at $176.89, with a volume of 35509 shares. The stock had previously closed at $174.43.

NSC has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Stifel Nicolaus initiated coverage on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research note on Thursday, May 24th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $158.00 target price for the company. Citigroup upgraded shares of Norfolk Southern from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $176.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, June 25th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $170.00 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, June 26th. Scotiabank reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $168.00 target price on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research note on Wednesday, July 4th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $158.00 target price on shares of Norfolk Southern in a research note on Friday, July 13th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $164.42.

The company has a current ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.70 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.55. The stock has a market capitalization of $49.00 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.43, a P/E/G ratio of 1.60 and a beta of 1.41.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 25th. The railroad operator reported $2.50 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.31 by $0.19. Norfolk Southern had a net margin of 52.36% and a return on equity of 14.53%. The firm had revenue of $2.90 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.87 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.71 EPS. Norfolk Southern’s revenue was up 9.9% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts forecast that Norfolk Southern Corp. will post 9.13 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 10th. Investors of record on Monday, August 6th will be given a $0.80 dividend. This represents a $3.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.80%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, August 3rd. This is a boost from Norfolk Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.72. Norfolk Southern’s payout ratio is 48.41%.

In other Norfolk Southern news, VP Cynthia C. Earhart sold 2,370 shares of Norfolk Southern stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $175.09, for a total transaction of $414,963.30. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 2,370 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $414,963.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman James A. Squires sold 34,077 shares of Norfolk Southern stock in a transaction on Monday, August 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $171.73, for a total transaction of $5,852,043.21. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 63,958 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,983,507.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.36% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NSC. Dupont Capital Management Corp grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 156.2% during the 1st quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp now owns 3,425 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $465,000 after acquiring an additional 2,088 shares during the period. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 51.5% in the 1st quarter. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI now owns 5,007 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $680,000 after buying an additional 1,702 shares during the period. Alps Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Norfolk Southern in the 1st quarter valued at $458,000. SG Americas Securities LLC grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 1,413.9% in the 1st quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 30,551 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $4,148,000 after buying an additional 28,533 shares during the period. Finally, DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 3.6% in the 1st quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale now owns 68,787 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $9,447,000 after buying an additional 2,393 shares during the period. 72.46% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Norfolk Southern Company Profile (NYSE:NSC)

Norfolk Southern Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods. It also transports overseas freight through various Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, as well as coal, automotive, and industrial products; and provides commuter passenger services.

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