Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE:UNP) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $109.00 target price on the railroad operator’s stock.
According to Zacks, “We are impressed with Union Pacific’s efforts to reward its investors through share buybacks and dividend payments. The company has an impressive history of making dividend payments for 117 consecutive years. The announcement for the latest quarterly installment of $0.55 per share was made in late July. Apart from dividend payouts, we are encouraged by the company's prudent cost management. Operating expenses declined 11% in the second quarter. Lower costs are expected to drive the bottom line in the third quarter as well, detailed results of which will be declared on Oct 20. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has inched up almost 1% to $1.38 per share over the last 30 days. The company is on track to achieve its operating ratio guidance of around 60% by 2019. However, the company continues to struggle due to coal-related headwinds. Also, the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, earlier this year, may hurt the company’s business.”
Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Argus restated a buy rating and set a $100.00 target price on shares of Union Pacific Corp. in a report on Monday, July 25th. Atlantic Securities assumed coverage on shares of Union Pacific Corp. in a report on Thursday, August 11th. They set an overweight rating and a $114.00 target price for the company. Howard Weil downgraded shares of Union Pacific Corp. to a sector perform rating in a report on Tuesday, June 21st. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. assumed coverage on shares of Union Pacific Corp. in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. They set a market perform rating for the company. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $100.00 target price on shares of Union Pacific Corp. and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, August 18th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $96.12.
Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE:UNP) opened at 98.07 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $81.68 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.09 and a beta of 0.84. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $95.28 and a 200 day moving average of $88.93. Union Pacific Corp. has a one year low of $67.06 and a one year high of $98.84.
Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE:UNP) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The railroad operator reported $1.17 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.17. Union Pacific Corp. had a net margin of 21.48% and a return on equity of 21.29%. The firm earned $4.77 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.80 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.38 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 12.1% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Union Pacific Corp. will post $5.04 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 31st were issued a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, August 29th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.24%. Union Pacific Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 42.80%.
In related news, EVP Robert M. Knight, Jr. sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $95.24, for a total value of $952,400.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 150,660 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,348,858.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Robert M. Knight, Jr. sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.00, for a total transaction of $485,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 150,660 shares in the company, valued at $14,614,020. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.14% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Aperio Group LLC boosted its stake in Union Pacific Corp. by 32.5% in the first quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 385,903 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $30,699,000 after buying an additional 94,559 shares in the last quarter. Sarasin & Partners LLP bought a new stake in Union Pacific Corp. during the first quarter valued at about $28,614,000. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc boosted its stake in Union Pacific Corp. by 1.5% in the first quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc now owns 121,964 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $9,702,000 after buying an additional 1,854 shares in the last quarter. Factory Mutual Insurance Co. boosted its stake in Union Pacific Corp. by 5.3% in the first quarter. Factory Mutual Insurance Co. now owns 950,500 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $75,612,000 after buying an additional 47,500 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Arvest Bank Trust Division boosted its stake in Union Pacific Corp. by 2.8% in the first quarter. Arvest Bank Trust Division now owns 258,668 shares of the railroad operator’s stock valued at $20,577,000 after buying an additional 7,093 shares in the last quarter. 78.14% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Union Pacific Corp. Company Profile
Union Pacific Corporation operates through its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad Company. Union Pacific Railroad Company links approximately 20 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing link in the supply chain. The Company’s business mix includes agricultural products, automotive, chemicals, coal, industrial products and intermodal.
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