Whitnell & Co. lowered its stake in Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) by 41.2% during the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 4,131 shares of the railroad operator’s stock after selling 2,899 shares during the quarter. Whitnell & Co.’s holdings in Norfolk Southern were worth $618,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Several other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc increased its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 1.6% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 21,159,132 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $3,819,223,000 after purchasing an additional 336,725 shares during the period. FMR LLC grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 14.8% during the third quarter. FMR LLC now owns 8,080,231 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $1,458,480,000 after acquiring an additional 1,043,444 shares during the period. Capital International Investors grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 47.1% during the third quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 7,020,157 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $1,267,138,000 after acquiring an additional 2,249,296 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 0.9% during the third quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 1,553,179 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $280,349,000 after acquiring an additional 13,737 shares during the period. Finally, Artemis Investment Management LLP grew its holdings in Norfolk Southern by 21.3% during the third quarter. Artemis Investment Management LLP now owns 1,462,459 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $263,981,000 after acquiring an additional 256,367 shares during the period. 81.25% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Norfolk Southern stock traded up $2.15 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $179.10. The stock had a trading volume of 657,753 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,163,057. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69, a quick ratio of 0.64 and a current ratio of 0.72. The firm has a market capitalization of $46.70 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.83, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.58 and a beta of 1.38. Norfolk Southern Corp. has a 1-year low of $127.79 and a 1-year high of $186.91.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, January 24th. The railroad operator reported $2.57 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.30 by $0.27. The company had revenue of $2.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.85 billion. Norfolk Southern had a return on equity of 16.71% and a net margin of 23.27%. Norfolk Southern’s revenue was up 8.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.69 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Norfolk Southern Corp. will post 10.25 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 11th. Stockholders of record on Monday, February 4th will be given a $0.86 dividend. This is an increase from Norfolk Southern’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.80. This represents a $3.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.92%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, February 1st. Norfolk Southern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 36.17%.

NSC has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. TD Securities raised Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 25th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Stifel Nicolaus raised Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $189.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 24th. Loop Capital raised Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $179.00 to $190.00 in a report on Wednesday, October 24th. Zacks Investment Research raised Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $191.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, November 21st. Finally, Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Norfolk Southern in a report on Thursday, January 3rd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $181.79.

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Norfolk Southern Profile

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)

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