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Riding Norfolk Southern to Value

If the earnings materialize as forecast, based upon forecasted earnings growth of 11%, NSC's share price would $146.19 at the end of 2018 (brown circle on EYE Chart), which would represent a 14.5% annual rate of total return which includes dividends paid (yellow highlighting).

Earnings Yield Estimates

Discounted future cash flows: All companies derive their value from the future cash flows (earnings) they are capable of generating for their stakeholders over time. Therefore, because earnings determine market price in the long run, we expect the future earnings of a company to justify the price we pay.

Since all investments potentially compete with all other investments, it is useful to compare investing in any prospective company to that of a comparable investment in low risk Treasury bonds.

Comparing an investment in Norfolk Southern to an equal investment in 10-year Treasury bonds illustrates that the company's expected earnings would be 7.6 (purple circle) times that of the 10-year T-bond interest (see EYE chart below). This is the essence of the importance of proper valuation as a critical investing component.

Summary and Conclusions

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, it's imperative readers conduct their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimate seems reasonable or not.

At the time of publication the author was long NSC.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Charles (Chuck) C. Carnevale is the creator of FAST Graphs.

Chuck has over 43 years of financial experience and is the co-founder of the earnings and price correlated, powerful fundamentals analyzer software tool - FAST Graphs. Chuck holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance from the University of Tampa. Chuck's work stressing sound valuation has been widely published on numerous financial sites and blogs. Chuck is passionate about spreading the critical message of valuation and prudence in fundamental investing. So much so that regular readers have dubbed him "Mr. Valuation". Chuck is a Veteran of the Vietnam War and was awarded both the Bronze Star and the Vietnam Honor Medal.

Chuck believes that correctly assessing fair value is one of the primary keys of successful stock investing, and he has dedicated his more than 40 years of experience in finance to its pursuit. Chuck agrees with legendary investors such as Warren Buffett, who recognize how important it is for investors in common stocks to possess an intelligent framework for making sound decisions that can keep emotions out of the equation. With making smart stock selections, there is no room for fear and greed.

Chuck was fortunate to learn at an early age that earnings drive long-term stock prices, and that dividends, if any, will be paid out of a company's earnings. This led him to develop FAST Graphs, the fundamentals analyzer software tool that reveals the long-term relationship between a company's earnings and its stock price and dividends over time. Chuck is most interested in the business behind the stock.

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