NORFOLK, Va. -- Norfolk Southern's third-quarter profit declined 6% as the railroad hauled less freight.
The Norfolk, Virginia-based company said Wednesday that it earned net income of $657 million, of $2.49 per share, in the quarter. That is down from $702 million, or $2.52 per share, a year ago.
Earnings, adjusted for a one-time write off, came to $2.58 per share.
The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.57 per share.
The railroad's revenue declined 4% to $2.84 billion in the period, which met Street forecasts. Norfolk Southern said price increases partially offset the 6% decline in shipping volume.
Citi analyst Christian Wetherbee said the railroad delivered good results that continued cutting expenses even if other major railroads, such as CSX and Union Pacific, have produced bigger improvements in operational efficiency. Norfolk Southern cut its expenses 4% to $1.85 billion in the quarter.
Norfolk Southern Corp.'s shares have climbed 26% since the beginning of the year, while the S&P 500 index has increased 20%. The stock has risen 15% in the last 12 months.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on NSC at https://www.zacks.com/ap/NSC