Union Pacific quarterly profit beats on higher shipment volumes

FILE PHOTO: A Union Pacific rail car is parked at a Burlington National Santa Fe (BNSF) train yard in Seattle, Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

(Reuters) – Union Pacific Corp on Thursday beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit, as the U.S. railroad operator benefited from higher volumes of grain and intermodal shipments.

Analysts expect the recovery in railroad volumes to continue in 2021, with a pick-up in demand giving way to broader-based gains in rail traffic, spurred by industrial and commodity end markets.

Volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, rose 3% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. Freight revenue, however, fell 1% to $4.80 billion.

The company’s net income fell to $1.38 billion, or $2.05 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $1.40 billion, or $2.02 per share, a year earlier.

Total operating revenue fell to $5.14 billion from $5.21 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.36 per share.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $2.30 per share, according Refinitiv data.

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