) and United Parcel (UPS
) to buy from neutral, and upgraded CSX Corp. (CSX
) to attractive from neutral.
Analysts Thomas Wadewitz and Ed Wolfe think Norfolk Southern has demonstrated its best performance in terms of costs savings and operating ratio improvement of its Class I group over the last two quarters. They believe the company's Thoroughbred Operating Plan provides a clear catalyst for continued cost improvement as well as rising reliability in the service it delivers. Wadewitz and Wolfe also note that given the sharp pullback in Norfolk Southern's stock, they believe the current level provides a compelling entry point.
The analysts set a $26 12-month target on Norfolk Southern; a $41 12-month target on CSX; and a $80 18-month target for UPS.