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Norfolk Southern Guides Lower

Carload volumes fall from a year earlier.
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Rail operator Norfolk Southern (NSC) - Get Norfolk Southern Corporation Report expects first-quarter earnings per share to come in 3% below a year earlier, principally due to reduced carload volumes and lower other income related to property sales.

Last year, the company posted earnings of 68 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had been expecting the company to earn 75 cents a share in the first quarter.

Shares of Norfolk Southern were off 3.1% in after-hours trading to $49.47.

The company said late Wednesday that volumes were down 4.4% compared with record volumes reported in the first quarter a year earlier, reflecting declines in the automotive and housing sectors.

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Norfolk Southern also experienced winter weather conditions in first quarter 2007 that were more extreme than the comparatively mild weather a year earlier, resulting in a slowing of operations and increased costs.

Norfolk Southern will release results on April 25.