Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. cut its position in shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) by 2.3% during the first quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 1,088,992 shares of the railroad operator’s stock after selling 26,132 shares during the period. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc.’s holdings in Norfolk Southern were worth $203,522,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in NSC. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 14,153.5% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 22,774,792 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $152,000 after purchasing an additional 22,615,008 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 1.6% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 21,159,132 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $3,819,223,000 after purchasing an additional 336,725 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 0.9% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 20,052,895 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $2,998,712,000 after purchasing an additional 169,821 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 3.5% during the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 12,864,410 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $2,404,230,000 after purchasing an additional 430,110 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Norfolk Southern by 7.1% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 3,364,851 shares of the railroad operator’s stock worth $502,245,000 after purchasing an additional 221,780 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.96% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NSC traded up $0.81 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $204.33. 400,235 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,266,750. The company has a quick ratio of 0.59, a current ratio of 0.67 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69. Norfolk Southern Corp. has a 1-year low of $138.65 and a 1-year high of $211.46. The firm has a market capitalization of $54.13 billion, a PE ratio of 21.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.57 and a beta of 1.44.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 24th. The railroad operator reported $2.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.17 by $0.34. Norfolk Southern had a return on equity of 17.80% and a net margin of 24.10%. The business had revenue of $2.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.82 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.93 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Norfolk Southern Corp. will post 10.8 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 10th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 3rd will be paid a dividend of $0.86 per share. This represents a $3.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.68%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 2nd. Norfolk Southern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 36.17%.

In other news, COO Michael Joseph Wheeler sold 2,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $204.57, for a total transaction of $511,425.00. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 12,919 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,642,839.83. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts have recently commented on NSC shares. Deutsche Bank cut Norfolk Southern from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $177.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Friday, January 25th. Loop Capital increased their target price on Norfolk Southern to $197.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, January 25th. TD Securities increased their target price on Norfolk Southern from $180.00 to $185.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, January 25th. ValuEngine upgraded Norfolk Southern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 12th. Finally, Cowen restated an “outperform” rating and set a $200.00 target price (up previously from $194.00) on shares of Norfolk Southern in a report on Tuesday, February 12th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. Norfolk Southern currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $202.06.

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About Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods. The company transports industrial products, including chemicals, agriculture, and metals and construction materials; and coal, automobiles, and automotive parts.

Further Reading: Why do company’s buyback their stock?

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)

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