Norfolk Southern Corporation Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (NSC)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Road & Rail industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • 35.70% is the gross profit margin for NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of NSC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 14.90% trails the industry average.
  • NSC, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 4.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • NSC's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.98 is weak.

Norfolk Southern Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods primarily in the United States. Norfolk Southern has a market cap of $18.34 billion and is part of the services sector and transportation industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 21.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full Norfolk Southern Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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