Norfolk Southern Corp. delivered a 10 percent increase in third-quarter profit as the railroad hauled 4 percent more freight and continued working to limit its expenses.
The Norfolk, Virginia-based railroad said Wednesday that it had a quarterly profit of $506 million, or $1.75 per share. That's up from $460 million, or $1.55 per share.
The results topped Wall Street expectations. The 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected earnings of $1.64 per share on average.
"We look ahead to the remainder of the year with confidence, based on current economic trends," Executive Vice President Alan Shaw said.
The railroad said revenue grew 6 percent to $2.67 billion. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.63 billion.
Norfolk Southern said its coal revenue grew 13 percent to $449 million in the quarter thanks to a surge in demand for export coal.
Norfolk Southern continues working to reduce its expenses by $650 million and improve efficiency by 2020. The railroad expects to cut roughly $150 million of costs this year after trimming $250 million in expenses last year.
Citi analyst Christian Wetherbee said Norfolk Southern appears to be making strides in operating improvement, and that could help it compete for business next year when the trucking market is expected to be tighter.
Norfolk Southern operates about 20,000 miles of track in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
Norfolk Southern shares have climbed 22 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has increased 15 percent. In morning trading shares fell $3.71, or 2.8 percent, to $128.60.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on NSC at https://www.zacks.com/ap/NSC