CSX shares slip in premarket on downgrade

AP News
Posted: Nov 20, 2009 8:59 AM

Shares of CSX Corp. edged down in premarket trading Friday as an analyst downgraded the railroad, saying its share price has moved too high.

Analyst John G. Larkin of Stifel, Nicolaus now rates the Jacksonville, Fla., company "Hold," down from "Buy."

Relative to Thursday's closing price of $49.14, CSX has "insufficient upside potential" in the next 12 months to warrant a continuation of his "Buy" rating, he said.

Shares of CSX increased this month more than the S&P 500 Index average, largely due to the "vote of confidence" for the industry by Berkshire Hathaway's announcement that it will purchase the 77.4 percent of Burlington Northern Santa Fe it does not already own.

Warren Buffett's company has so far lined up an $8 billion loan to help pay for the $26.3 billion acquisition.

Despite the downgrade, Larkin says CSX management has done a "superior job" of controlling costs while maximizing yields at a time of steep volume declines.

CSX shares fell 83 cents to $48.31 in premarket trading.