CSX Pricing Keeping Earnings on Track: CEO

Dow Transportation component CSX, often considered an economic weather vane, reported third quarter earnings of $0.94 a share for continuing operations, a 40 percent increase over last year.

“It’s really a combination of three things: we’re continuing to see good pricing vibrancy, our productivity is good and while shipments are down somewhat, they’re being offset by...pricing increases,” said Michael Ward, CSX president and CEO.

The rail company is predicting a 35 percent year-over-year increase in EPS in the fourth quarter, and it predicts its full-year earnings will come in at the low end of its previous range of $3.65 to $3.75. CSX is targeting compound annual growth of 20 to 25 percent through 2010.

“We’re just continuing to gain momentum, as we have over the last three years, in what we’re calling the 'Rail Renaissance,' where more and more people are turning to the rails to move their products,” Ward told CNBC.

Ward disputed the idea that as commodity prices fall, his company's revenues will fall along with them, and he maintains a positive outlook despite the turmoil in the markets.

“What we’re seeing so far this quarter is the shipments are not really very different from what we’ve experienced all year. Obviously we have some concern and we’re keeping our eyes open, because there is a lot of jitteriness due to the financial crisis, but to date we’re not seeing it in our shipments.”