Jefferies starts CSX stock with Hold rating

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Jefferies starts CSX stock with Hold rating

On Monday, Jefferies initiated coverage on CSX Corporation (NASDAQ: CSX ), a major player in the North American railroad sector, with a Hold rating and a price target of $40.00. The firm noted CSX's position as the fourth largest Class 1 railroad by volume and revenue, highlighting its strong margin profile and efficient capital use.

CSX, recognized for its substantial margins that surpass those of its East Coast rival by over 500 basis points, has been consistent in returning excess free cash flow to its shareholders through dividends and share buybacks. The company's capital intensity is relatively low at just 15% of sales, which has supported its financial strategies.

Despite these strengths, Jefferies expressed caution regarding CSX's ability to significantly improve its operating ratio (OR), citing limited opportunities for volume growth and structural cost reductions. The analyst pointed out that even though CSX has made significant improvements in service, its focus on the East Coast and current freight mix means it often competes with truckload carriers for incremental volumes.

The firm's assessment also considered the stock's current valuation, suggesting that the market has already priced in an anticipated earnings per share compound annual growth rate of almost 10% over the next two years. As a result, Jefferies believes that CSX shares are approaching full valuation, leading to the decision to initiate coverage with a Hold rating.

InvestingPro Insights

As investors consider Jefferies' Hold rating on CSX Corporation, real-time data from InvestingPro provides additional context. With a market capitalization of $71.06 billion and a P/E ratio of 19.61, CSX's financial health is reflected in its impressive gross profit margin of 48.91% over the last twelve months as of Q1 2023. This margin strength supports the view that CSX has been efficient in its capital use and is a testament to its robust margin profile highlighted by Jefferies.

InvestingPro Tips further enrich the analysis, noting that CSX has not only been proactive with share buybacks but has also raised its dividend for 19 consecutive years. This track record of dividend growth, which saw a 20.0% increase in the last twelve months as of Q1 2023, underpins the company's commitment to shareholder returns. Moreover, CSX's consistent dividend payments for 44 consecutive years underscore its financial stability and reliability as an income-generating investment.

For readers seeking to delve deeper into CSX's performance and future prospects, InvestingPro offers additional tips, such as insights into the company's debt levels and valuation multiples. To access these insights and more, consider using the coupon code PRONEWS24 to get an additional 10% off a yearly or biyearly Pro and Pro+ subscription. Note that there are 11 additional InvestingPro Tips available, which could offer further guidance on CSX's investment potential.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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