Norfolk Southern 4th Quarter Profits Climb

NORFOLK, Virginia -- Railway operator Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC - news) on Wednesday posted a jump in fourth-quarter profits, helped by a pickup in coal shipments, a wire service reports.

Norfolk, which runs freight hauler Norfolk Southern Railway, as well as transport and telecom businesses, said in a news release that quarterly net income was $115 million, or 30 cents a share, including a 3-cent per share gain, up from $5 million, or 1 cent, including an unusual charge.

Wall Street had expected Norfolk to earn between 20 cents and 26 cents a share, with a consensus forecast of 23 cents, according to 10 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Rail revenues were $1.53 billion, up from $1.524 billion.

Norfolk Southern shares, which have ridden a broad rally in rail stocks fueled by hopes of turnup in the U.S. economy, closed on Tuesday at $19.72, up 32 cents. Norfolk is up about 17 percent over the last 12 months while the Dow Jones U.S. Total Market Index has fallen about 16 percent.