Shares of Union Pacific (UNP) - Get Report were rising Thursday after the railroad company posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings but a slight sales miss. 

The stock was rising 0.28% to $169.75 a share in premarket trading.

Earnings per share for the first quarter of 2019 were $1.93, beating analysts' estimates of $1.88. Revenue was $5.39 billion, which missed Wall Street's expectations of $5.49 billion. Revenue fell 2% year over year. 

The company's operating ratio improved 1 percentage point to 63.3% in the quarter from a year earlier. Management had touted in January the importance of getting the company's operating ratio down. 

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"We look to build on the momentum we had prior to the weather challenges and provide a consistent, reliable service product for our customers, while at the same time improving our operating efficiency," said Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz. "We remain focused on increasing shareholder returns through appropriate capital investments and returning excess cash to shareholders." 

The stock has gained 23% this year.