CSX Corporation (CSXFree Report) reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues in the second quarter of 2021, following which, its shares popped around 3% in after-market trading on Jul 21.

The company’s earnings (excluding 12 cents from non-recurring items) of 40 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 37 cents. The bottom line surged year over year owing to higher revenues. The year-ago period was characterized by significant downturn in business due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Total revenues of $2,990 million also outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,971.2 million. The top line soared around 33% year over year owing to growth across all its businesses.

Second-quarter operating income jumped more than 100% to $1,691 million, benefiting from sale of property rights to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenues) improved to 43.4% from 63.3% in the prior-year quarter, with operating expenses declining 9% year over year. Operating ratio was positively impacted to the tune of 11.7 percentage points from the sale of property rights to the Commonwealth of Virginia. With respect to this metric, lower the value, the better.

Segmental Performance

Merchandise revenues climbed 26% year over year to $1,903 million in the quarter under review. Merchandise volumes increased 21% from the year-ago period.

Coal revenues ascended 47% year over year to $423 million in the reported quarter. Coal volumes rose 44% with increase in both domestic and export coal volumes.

Intermodal revenues augmented 42% year over year to $511 million. Volumes increased 28%, with both domestic and international shipments increasing as a result of tightening truck capacity, inventory replenishments and increase in rail volumes from east coast ports.

Other revenues jumped 51% to $153 million in the reported quarter.

Liquidity & Share Buyback

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company exited the second quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $2,986 million compared with $3,129 million at the end of December 2020. Long-term debt totaled $16,229 million compared with $16,304 million at 2020-end. As of Jun 30, 2021, net cash provided by operating activities was $2,399 million compared with $2,184 million in the year-earlier period.

As of Jun 30, 2021, CSX repurchased 40 million shares for $1,252 million.

Sectorial Snapshot

Within the broader Transportation sector, Delta Air Lines (DALFree Report) , J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHTFree Report) and Kansas City Southern (KSUFree Report) recently reported second-quarter 2021 results.

Delta, carrying a Zacks Rank #3, incurred a loss (excluding $2.09 from non-recurring items) of $1.07 per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.41. Total revenues of $7,126 million also topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6,340.9 million.

J.B. Hunt, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported earnings of $1.61 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.55. Total operating revenues of $2908.4 million outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2722 million. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Kansas City Southern, carrying a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), reported earnings (excluding $6.23 from non-recurring items) of $2.06 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.16. However, quarterly revenues of $749.5 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $733.1 million.

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