Union Pacific Profit Meets Estimates as Recovery Spurs Freight

Union Pacific Corp. posted second-quarter profit that matched analysts’ estimates as an economic rebound drove cargo demand and boosted sales to a record.

Net income rose 17 percent to $1.3 billion, or $1.43 a share, from $1.1 billion, or $1.18, a year earlier, the Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad said in a statement today. That met the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales increased 10 percent to a record $6.02 billion, compared with analysts’ estimates for $6 billion. It joined CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp. in posting record quarterly revenue. The U.S. is estimated to grow 3.3 percent in the second quarter on an annual basis after the economy shrank 2.9 percent in the first three months of this year.

“The volume growth continues to be very solid,” Allison Landry, an analyst with Credit Suisse Group AG, said in a telephone interview before the earnings release. “That’s attributable to broader strength in the underlying economy, and particularly in the industrial economy.”

U.S. industrial production has bounced back, rising at a 5.5 percent annualized rate from April through June, the most since the third quarter of 2010.

Union Pacific’s carloads rose 8.2 percent during the quarter, according to Association of American Railroads data compiled by Bloomberg, outpacing the industry’s 7.1 percent increase. Gains were led by shipments of agriculture and general merchandise known as intermodal.

The shares fell 0.3 percent to $102.51 yesterday in New York and had advanced 22 percent this year.