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Why Is Kansas City Southern (KSU) Up 1.1% Since Last Earnings Report?

·4 min read

A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Kansas City Southern (KSU). Shares have added about 1.1% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Kansas City Southern due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Kansas City Southern Misses on Earnings in Q3

Kansas City Southern’s earnings (excluding 31 cents from non-recurring items) of $2.02 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.07. Results were hurt by the decline in overall carload volumes. The bottom line, however, increased 3.1% on a year-over-year basis despite adjusted operating expenses increasing substantially.

Quarterly revenues of $744 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $725.9 million and increased 12.8% year over year, driven by a favorable product mix, higher fuel surcharge, and the strengthening of the Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar. Overall carload volumes dipped 3% due to headwinds like a global microchip shortage-led auto plant shutdowns, service disruptions at the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas following teachers' protests and supply-chain disruptions following increased regulation of refined fuel product shipments into Mexico.

Operating expenses (on a reported basis) escalated 26.8% to $492.1 million. Operating expenses included $36.5 million in merger costs. Adjusted operating expenses increased 17.5%. Operating income (on an adjusted basis) increased 6% to $288.4 million. Kansas City Southern’s adjusted operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenues) deteriorated to 61.2% from 58.8% a year ago.

Citing lack of visibility regarding the impact of auto plant shutdowns, Lazaro Cardenas’ service interruptions and supply-chain disruptions related to refined fuel product, management suspended the previously provided guidance

Other Financial Details of Q3

The Chemical & Petroleum segment generated revenues worth $204.1 million, up 6% year over year. While segmental volumes declined 5% year over year, revenues per carload improved 12% from the prior-year quarter’s level.

The Industrial & Consumer Products segment’s revenues logged $159 million, up 26% year over year with all sub groups, metals and scrap, forest products and others recording higher revenues. Business volumes and revenues per carload increased 7% and 17%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis.

The Agriculture & Minerals segment’s total revenues increased 12% to $139.8 million. While business volumes expanded 5% year over year, revenues per carload gained 6%.

The Energy segment’s revenues of $74.6 million were up 59% year over year, riding on the 58% rise in revenues of the Utility Coal sub-group. While business volumes surged 43% year over year, revenues per carload increased 12%.

Intermodal revenues were $86.9 million, down 2% year over year. While business volumes declined 13% year over year, revenues per carload climbed 11% year over year.

Revenues in the Automotive segment declined 17% year over year to $40.1 million. While business volumes plummeted 30%, revenues per carload increased 18% on a year-over-year basis.

Other revenues totaled $39.5 million, up 25% year over year.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates review have trended downward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted -10% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

Currently, Kansas City Southern has an average Growth Score of C, however its Momentum Score is doing a bit better with a B. However, the stock was allocated a grade of F on the value side, putting it in the lowest quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of this revision indicates a downward shift. It's no surprise Kansas City Southern has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). We expect a below average return from the stock in the next few months.


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