Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch reduces the railroad to Underperform from Neutral.
Personally, I'm not too concerned. Over the next 18 months I plan on reinvesting NSC's dividends in the DRIP. Also, I will invest what other capital that I can in more NSC shares. I am counting on the completion of the Panama Canal expansion to jump start NSC's business. In the meantime, I will continue buying NSC shares on the cheap. I am a long term investor and don't pay too much attention to quarterly reports.
World Bank last week announced it would follow US (read: Obama's) lead in restricting financing for coal-fired power plants in developing countries, instead focusing on natural gas and hydroelectric power. Meanwhile, China has engaged Hess to supplement Shell's efforts to exploit shale gas resource that may dwarf US reserves. Coal business is crawling up a slippery slope.
You should definitely pay attention to quarterly reports. Long-term investor or not, you need to pay attention to earnings trends. You may not want to REACT to quarterly reports, but a series of four quarterly reports that are all bad may be a clue that you have a lousy stock. Holding long-term doesn't mean holding forever -- even Warren Buffet sells stocks, notwithstanding his announced "preference" for a holding period of "forever."