OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific's profit and revenue slumped by double digits, though the volume of shipments it handled rebounded from the previous quarter as the economy emerged from the worst of the virus-related shutdowns earlier this year.
The railroad earned $1.36 billion, or $2.01 per share in the third quarter, down 12% from $1.56 billion, or $2.22 per share, a year ago. The per-share earnings from the most recent quarter were 2 cents short of Wall Street expectations, according to a survey of analysts by Zacks Investment Research.
Revenue fell 11% to $4.92 billion, also shy of analyst expectations for $4.98 billion.
Shares of Union Pacific Corp. dipped almost 6% Thursday.
Volume fell 4% compared with last year, a significant improvement over the second quarter when volume plunged 20% as factories and businesses shut down with COVID-19 infections spreading in the U.S.
Union Pacific cut its expenses 12% to $2.89 billion during the quarter. Edward Jones analyst Jeff Windau said even though costs were down, the railroad's results were hurt by some unusual expenses, including severance pay and higher state and local taxes. But he said things are looking up heading into the rest of the year.
Volume is up 4% so far in the fourth quarter, and Union Pacific expects that to end up in the low single-digit percentage range. Consumer demand remains strong and online shopping continues growing, which boosts shipments of containers of imported goods. Grain exports are improving thanks to strong demand from China.
The Omaha, Nebraska, railroad operates 32,400 miles (52,000 kilometers) of track in 23 Western states.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on UNP at https://www.zacks.com/ap/UNP