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

In this Thursday, July 20, 2017, photo, a Union Pacific employee is seen on board a locomotive in a rail yard in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Union Pacific Corp. reports financial results Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

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 750 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 railroad will continue working to improve operations, but he didn’t offer specific guidance.

“As the economy continues to ebb and flow, we will focus on executing our value strategy,” Fritz said.

Shares of Union Pacific Corp., which have increased slightly more than 6 percent since the beginning of the year, rose 1 percent before the opening bell Thursday.

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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