Railway earnings can't weather the storm
Published: March 20, 2008
Source: National Post

Canadian railways have had a rocky first quarter, with unusually extreme cold weather and high winds in the West and high snow falls in the East causing delays, derailments, and outright stoppages. The operational issues has Walter Spracklin, RBC Capital Markets analyst, lowering his earnings forecast for both Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.

“Fundamentally, we believe the issues impacting the Canadian railroads' operating results are reflective of seasonal factors that are not related to the overall demand for rail services,” he said in a note to clients. “We continue to have a favorable outlook on the railroad industry.”

Mr. Spracklin said he was lowering his first quarter earnings forecast for CNR to 61¢ a share, down from 70¢, which is also the Streets’ consensus. He also dropped his earnings forecast for the full year to $3.63, from $3.71, but kept his price target of $61 a share and his “outperform” rating on the stock.

For CP, he lowered his first quarter forecast to 73¢ a share, from 78¢, and his full-year estimate to $4.79, from $4.85. He maintained his price target of $78 and his “outperform” rating on the stock.