Shares of Jacksonville, Fla.-based railroad CSX (CSX) - Get Report opened higher by 6% Thursday after the company said it would hike its quarterly dividend 11% to 20 cents a share and announced a new $1 billion share buyback program over the next year.
The company released a presentation to accompany its first quarter earnings call Thursday morning in which it outlined its full-year 2017 adjusted expectations.
Excluding the impact of 2017 restructuring charges, CSX expects to bring its operating ratio into the mid-60s, sees EPS growth of around 25% off 2016 reported base of $1.81 per share, report free cash flow before dividends of about $1.5 billion. These expectations presume coal markets and the overall economy remain stable.
The presentation comes one day after CSX reported adjusted first-quarter earnings of 51 cents a share, which beat analysts expectations of 43 cents per share. The adjustment comes as the company recorded a $173 million restructuring charge during the period.
The EPS beat, coupled with a 10% revenue growth year-over-year, satisfied investors Wednesday evening following the report, sending the shares up around 3% in after-hours trading.
CSX is off to a good start, as far as the market is concerned, just a month after veteran railroad executive and turnaround expert Hunter Harrison took the helm as CEO.
Sometimes it's better to be lucky rather than good, TheStreet's Jim Cramer, manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said of Harrison on CNBC's "Mad Dash" segment.
Harrison is a fantastic operator, there's no doubt in that. But we have not seen coal volumes increase in a very a long time, which they did this quarter by 3% for CSX. The rebound in coal is helping to drive CSX's results and the timing couldn't be better, Cramer said.
Also helping is its minerals business, which saw a 21% increase in shipping volume. This is a bullish signal for the broader economy too, because it means building is taking place, he said.
These numbers are extraordinary, Cramer reasoned, adding that Harrison is now running a better railroad.
Updated from 9:32 ET to include Jim Cramer's comments.