CSX Corp reported higher quarterly profit that beat Wall Street forecasts, as increased merchandise and intermodal shipments more than offset weakness in the coal segment, sending shares up 2.5 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday.
Coal volume fell 14 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, as unusually mild winter weather and decade-low natural gas prices cut demand from utilities.
Automotive, metal and volume in intermodal - the shipment of goods in containers that can be moved from one form of transportation to another - contributed to a 1 percent rise in total volume.
"Although utility coal-related headwinds are likely to be stronger in the second quarter, CSX remains on track to achieve year-over-year earnings growth in 2012," Chief Executive Michael Ward said in a statement.
Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX said on Tuesday that net income rose to $449 million, or 43 cents per share, in the first quarter from $395 million or 35 cents per share a year before.
Analysts expected a profit of 38 cents per share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Quarterly operating revenue rose 6 percent to nearly $3 billion on higher volume, pricing and fuel surcharges, slightly above the average forecast of $2.92 billion.
Analysts expect full-year profit of $1.80 per share.
The second-largest publicly held U.S. railroad operator said in March it expected record net earnings for any first quarter in its history as merchandise and intermodal business growth more than offset steeper-than-expected coal shipments.
CSX, the first of the leading public U.S. railroads to report quarterly results, will hold a conference call with analysts before the stock market opens on Wednesday.
Its shares were up 2.5 percent in after-hours trading at $23, which put them up 9 percent so far this year.
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