OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific reported a 13 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit Thursday as strong grain, automotive and industrial shipments offset a 10 percent drop in loads of coal.
The Omaha, Neb., railroad earned $1.2 billion net income, or $2.55 per share, in the last three months of 2013. That's up from last year's $1 billion net income, or $2.19 per share.
Revenue improved 7 percent to $5.63 billion as the railroad increased rates 3.5 percent and volume grew 2 percent overall.
Edward Jones analyst Logan Purk said the results show that Union Pacific has more pricing power than other railroads because it has more long-term contracts coming up for renewal.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Union Pacific Corp. to report more modest quarterly earnings per share of $2.49 per share on revenue of $5.57 billion.
Company shares climbed to a new 52-week high of $174.82 after the report. The stock was still up $4.50 at $173 in afternoon trading.
The numbers of cars, chemicals, crops, fuel, lumber and containers of imported goods railroads carry offer investors clues about the health of the nation's economy.
CEO Jack Koraleski said the economy should continue to improve because auto sales, housing construction and manufacturing are predicted to be strong, and it doesn't look like Congress will derail the economy with another fiscal showdown.