Union Pacific, one of the U.S. largest railroad operators, reported better-than-expected profit in the last quarter of 2020 as shipments recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic slump.
The Nebraska-based railroad company said its net income declined to $1.38 billion, or $2.05 per share and total operating revenue dipped to $5.14 billion from $5.21 billion a year earlier.
However, excluding items, Union Pacific reported a profit of $2.36 per share, beating the Wall Street consensus estimate of $2.23 per share. Fourth-quarter business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, increased 3% compared to 2019, but quarterly freight revenue declined 1%.
At the time of writing, Union Pacific shares traded about 5% lower at $213.39 on Thursday. However, the stock rose 15% in 2020.
“While the economic outlook for 2021 remains uncertain, we will build off our solid 2020 performance to produce continued strong productivity through operational excellence. We expect our enhanced service product will support both solid core pricing gains while also increasing our share of the freight transportation market,” said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president, and chief executive officer.
Union Pacific Stock Price Forecast
Eighteen analysts who offered stock ratings for Union Pacific in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months at $223.59 with a high forecast of $250.00 and a low forecast of $160.00.
The average price target represents a 4.48% increase from the last price of $214.01. From those 18 analysts, 12 rated “Buy”, six rated “Hold” and none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.
Morgan Stanley gave a base target price of $160 with a high of $240 under a bull scenario and $100 under the worst-case scenario. The firm currently has an “Equal-weight” rating on the U.S. railroad operator’s stock.
Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Union Pacific had its price target upped by Raymond James to $250 from $220. They currently have a strong-buy rating on the railroad operator’s stock. TD Securities boosted their target price to $230 from $225 and gave the stock a hold rating.
In addition, Bank of America boosted their target price to $220 from $198 and gave the stock a buy rating. Citigroup boosted their target price to $250 from $215. At last, Deutsche Bank boosted their target price to $239 from $220 and gave the stock a buy rating.
We think it is good to buy at the current level and target $235 as 100-day Moving Average and 100-200-day MACD Oscillator signal a strong buying opportunity.
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