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Norfolk Southern Chugs Higher

Shares rally on a strong third quarter.

Norfolk Southern

(NSC) - Get Norfolk Southern Corporation Report

surged 8% early Wednesday after handily beating Wall Street profit targets.

The Norfolk, Va., railroad made $416 million, or $1.02 a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from the year-ago $301 million, or 73 cents a share.

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Revenue rose to $2.39 billion from $2.16 billion a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for an 81-cent profit on sales of $2.36 billion.

"We have consistently driven financial and operational performance to higher levels throughout each quarter this year," said CEO Wick Moorman. "In the third quarter our performance enabled us to produce excellent results and set records for railway operating revenues, income from railway operations and net income, while also significantly improving our operating ratio."

Shares rose $3.70 to $52.50.