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Friday November 17th, 2017 6:16PM

Union Pacific's 3Q profit grows 6 percent despite challenges

By The Associated Press
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific delivered a 6 percent improvement in third-quarter profit even though it hauled 1 percent less freight and dealt with disruptions from Hurricane Harvey.

The Omaha, Nebraska, railroad it earned $1.19 billion, or $1.50 per share, in the third quarter. That's up from $1.13 billion, or $1.36 per share, a year ago.

Union Pacific said Thursday that one-time events related to Hurricane Harvey, laying off 800 workers, a land sale and a lawsuit settlement created a net 5 cent drag on earnings in the quarter.

The industry analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research had expected the railroad to report earnings per share of $1.49.

The company's revenue of $5.41 billion topped the $5.31 billion that had been forecast on Wall Street.

Citi analyst Christian Wetherbee said the railroad delivered solid core results and increased freight rates during the quarter.

Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz said he's optimistic about the railroad's prospects next year as the economy is expected to continue growing slowly and the truck market is likely to be tight. The layoffs and other cost cuts Union Pacific made this year should help it remain competitive.

"We think that decision made us much more agile," Fritz said about the layoffs.

Shares of Union Pacific Corp., which have increased slightly more than 6 percent since the beginning of the year, rose 4 percent, or $4.49, to sell for $114.76 Thursday.

_____

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

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