CSX Fourth-Quarter Profit Beats Estimate, Revenue Comes Up 1% Short; Shares Decline

Fourth-quarter earnings at freight-services railroad CSX fell 2% from a year earlier but beat Wall Street's expectations. Revenue came in just short of estimates.
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(CSX) - Get Report shares were lower in after-hours trading Thursday even after the provider of freight-transport services by rail reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter net income.

The Jacksonville, Fla., company earned 99 cents a share, off 2% from $1.01 in the year-earlier quarter. Shares outstanding fell 6.6% to 778 million. Revenue fell 8.2% to $2.89 billion from $3.14 billion.

A survey of analysts by FactSet had estimated that CSX would earn 97 cents a share on $2.92 billion of revenue. The revenue miss against the estimate was about 1%.

CSX attributed the revenue decline to lower volumes "and negative mix from coal-market headwinds."

In an SEC filing CSX said that "domestic coal declined primarily due to lower shipments of utility coal as a result of continued competition from natural gas. Export coal declined due to lower international shipments of both thermal and metallurgical coal as global benchmark prices declined."

Expenses decreased 9% from a year earlier, helped by efficiency gains and volume-related savings. "[Our] employees stepped up to produce efficiencies during tough economic conditions," President and Chief Executive James Foote said in a statement. 

At last check CSX shares were trading down 3.6% in after-hours action. The stock closed the regular session on Thursday at $76.74, up 2.3%.

The stock has been on a bumpy ride in the past year. It touched a 52-week low one year ago at $63.14 and a high near $81 in May. The stock then dived to around $64 in mid-August before struggling back.