Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE:NSC) Not Lagging Market On Growth Or Pricing

Norfolk Southern Corporation +0.25% Post

Norfolk Southern Corporation

NSC

226.86

226.30

+0.25%

-0.25% Post

When close to half the companies in the United States have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") below 17x, you may consider Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE:NSC) as a stock to avoid entirely with its 31.6x P/E ratio. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly elevated P/E.

With earnings that are retreating more than the market's of late, Norfolk Southern has been very sluggish. It might be that many expect the dismal earnings performance to recover substantially, which has kept the P/E from collapsing. If not, then existing shareholders may be very nervous about the viability of the share price.

Check out our latest analysis for Norfolk Southern

pe-multiple-vs-industry
NYSE:NSC Price to Earnings Ratio vs Industry March 30th 2024
Keen to find out how analysts think Norfolk Southern's future stacks up against the industry? In that case, our free report is a great place to start.

Is There Enough Growth For Norfolk Southern?

Norfolk Southern's P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's expected to deliver very strong growth, and importantly, perform much better than the market.

Retrospectively, the last year delivered a frustrating 42% decrease to the company's bottom line. This has erased any of its gains during the last three years, with practically no change in EPS being achieved in total. Therefore, it's fair to say that earnings growth has been inconsistent recently for the company.

Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to climb by 23% per year during the coming three years according to the analysts following the company. With the market only predicted to deliver 10% each year, the company is positioned for a stronger earnings result.

In light of this, it's understandable that Norfolk Southern's P/E sits above the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are expecting this strong future growth and are willing to pay more for the stock.

What We Can Learn From Norfolk Southern's P/E?

Using the price-to-earnings ratio alone to determine if you should sell your stock isn't sensible, however it can be a practical guide to the company's future prospects.

We've established that Norfolk Southern maintains its high P/E on the strength of its forecast growth being higher than the wider market, as expected. At this stage investors feel the potential for a deterioration in earnings isn't great enough to justify a lower P/E ratio. Unless these conditions change, they will continue to provide strong support to the share price.

There are also other vital risk factors to consider and we've discovered 4 warning signs for Norfolk Southern (1 is concerning!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

You might be able to find a better investment than Norfolk Southern. If you want a selection of possible candidates, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a low P/E (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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