The railroad sector fell deep into the red on Wednesday after reports from a number of major operators offered cautious outlooks for 2023.
Shares of Canadian National Railway (CNI) -5.04%, Union Pacific (UNP) -1.65%, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE:NSC) -5.18% each slumped during Wednesday’s trading, owing to earnings reports that disappointed this week. Each of the names have now turned negative year-to-date.
Norfolk Southern Chief Marketing Officer Ed Elkins outlined headwinds hitting the industry in 2023 during an earnings call on Wednesday.
“We anticipate that macroeconomic conditions will pressure a variety of the markets that we participate in. We’re mindful of recent weakness in industrial production, particularly with respect to manufacturing, and that drives many of our markets,” he told analysts. “Additionally, the weak housing market will be a headwind to many of our industrial businesses and we expect this weakness to persist in 2023 as the housing market adjusts to higher interest rates.”
He added that volume growth in intermodal will depend on the state of the economy into 2023. Elkins explained that this could result in suboptimal performance in the segment as lower fuel surcharges and reduced storage revenue is realized given the alleviation of supply chain bottlenecks.
Adding to broad pressure on the sector, Union Pacific (UNP) fielded a downgrade on the day from Bank of America. Analyst Ken Hoexter cut his rating from Buy to Neutral, citing rising costs and negative mix pressures among adverse factors.
CSX Corporation (CSX) -1.82% is expected to post its earnings results after the bell on Wednesday. Canada Pacific (CP) -2.9% is expected to report on January 31.