Norfolk Sets Rail-Earnings Tone as Weak Traffic Squeezes Profit

April 13, 2015 11:18 PM

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Norfolk Southern Corp. heralded a difficult season for railroad profits with preliminary first-quarter earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates after coal carloads and fuel surcharges dropped.

U.S. carriers posted no growth in carloads in the first three months of 2015, according to Association of American Railroads statistics. They felt the sting of utilities switching to cheaper natural gas from coal; slower growth in oil train traffic as crude prices fell; and a drag on container shipm...

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