reported unexpectedly weak first-quarter earnings Monday, which the big railroad company attributed to higher fuel and labor costs.
Richmond, Va.-based CSX, which operates the third-largest rail system in the U.S., earned $29 million or 14 cents per diluted share, down from $75 million or 36 cents a share a year ago. Analysts surveyed by
First Call/Thompson Financial
had projected earnings of 15 cents.
"These results are unsatisfactory and reflect sharply higher fuel and labor costs, as well as lingering congestion problems at our railroad," said John W. Snow, chairman and chief executive, in a statement. "We are taking steps to reduce the number of cars in our system and improve network fluidity. With demand expected to stay strong for the rest of the year, we can improve earnings substantially by running the railroad more effectively."
Revenue fell to $2.15 billion from $2.54 billion a year ago. The revenue a year ago included "substantial" contributions from CSX's international container business, which was sold in December.
CSX shares rose 7/16, or 2%, to 21 1/16, in midday trading. (CSX closed up 5/16, or 2%, at 20 15/16.)