With the news that the company was pulling its $28 billion bid for North American peer Norfolk Southern(NSC) - Get Report , Canadian Pacific Railway(CP) - Get Report stock felt an immediate $2 bump at the opening Monday to $136.67 apiece, up about 1.5% from Friday's close of $134.79 per share.
But things look different for the abandoned target.
Analysts predict Canadian Pacific's price will continue to climb as shareholders feel relief that the company won't fork over more cash to make a deal happen.
"It's definitely a positive for a Canadian Pacific shareholders," one analyst who covers both companies and requested anonymity told TheStreet by phone Monday. "I think investors were a little nervous that [Canadian Pacific] would have to up the value of the deal dramatically, and now this takes the pressure off."
In particular, shareholders will no longer have to worry about potentially lost dividends and share buybacks, this person said, boosting Canadian Pacific's stock in the near term, and allowing the Calgary, Alberta company to put that unused cash toward improving the railroad.
For the abandoned Norfolk, Va.-based target, however, the sell- and buy-side analyst fears the stock is headed in the opposite direction.
"Norfolk has been the laggard of the group in terms of margin improvement for last decade," the company follower said. "I think some shareholders thought this would be the catalyst to light a fire."
Norfolk Southern's shares opened at $79.12 apiece Monday, down nearly 3% from its $81.49 per share Friday close.
Investors were particularly interested in seeing Canadian Pacific's CEO Hunter Harrison come in and shake some things up at the helm of Norfolk Southern, this person said.
Indeed, Morningstar analyst Keith Schoonmaker said his firm felt "the greatest value in this case was bringing thrice-proven turnaround expert Hunter Harrison to another railroad with a lagging [operating revenue], rather than powerful combination synergies."
But that's not to say Norfolk Southern shareholders can't press "for something else involving Hunter Harrison," the first analyst said, though he declined to elaborate.
And while what analysts called a "risky deal" is out of the way for Canadian Pacific, the first company follower suggested the answer moving forward may be small rail M&A, rather than pursuing industry giants.
Norfolk Southern in a statement said that the company has made "significant progress" on its plan to extract about $650 million in annual productivity savings, reiterating "we are confident the continued execution of our plan will deliver superior value to all of the company's stakeholders by best positioning Norfolk Southern to succeed."
TheStreet's sister publication, The Deal, previously pegged Kansas City Southern(KSU) - Get Report , the smallest of the major railroads and operator of a mostly north/south network running up from Mexico, as a potential target for Canadian Pacific if its pursuit of Norfolk Southern failed.
Kansas City Southern shares were trading up nearly 2% to $89.29 per share Monday morning, but are down 15% year-to-date.
Morningstar feels "trans-U.S. mergers make sense," according to Schoonmaker, but have not been proposed by any of the four big U.S. railroad operators.
The analysts noted, however, that Matt Rose, principal executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B) - Get Report BNSF Railway Co., has indicated his company "wouldn't necessarily sit still if combinations were approaching fruition."
--Lou Whiteman contributed to this report.