UPDATE 1-Union Pacific profit boosted by industrial shipments
Oct 17 (Reuters) - Railroad company Union Pacific Corp reported a 15 percent rise in quarterly earnings on Thursday as increased shipments of automotive and other industrial products more than offset weak coal and agricultural volumes.
Railroads are seen as key indicators of how the economy is doing because of the variety of goods they transport.
Union Pacific, the largest publicly traded U.S. railroad, said automotive shipments rose 8 percent in the third quarter, while industrial products were up 9. Coal volumes fell 7 percent, matching the decline at smaller rival CSX Corp.
Railroads face slumping coal shipments as oil and gas supplies rise.
Union Pacific, which operates 31,900 route miles and links 23 states in the West and Midwest, earned $1.15 billion, or $2.48 a share, in the quarter, up from $1 billion, or $2.19 a share, a year earlier.
Revenue for the Omaha, Nebraska-based company rose 4 percent to $5.6 billion.
Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $2.47 a share on revenue of $5.58 billion.
Earlier this month, Union Pacific warned that third-quarter earnings could be lower than expected. Like CSX, it cited weak coal shipments, hurt by mild summer weather and flooding in Colorado.
The company's shares closed at $157.16 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.