OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific’s first-quarter profit declined 9% as the railroad delivered less freight and its revenue fell, but it said the economy is steadily improving. The Omaha, Nebraska, company said Thursday that it earned $1.34 billion, or $2 per share, in the quarter. That’s down from $1.47 billion, or $2.15 per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 4% to $5 billion, short of Wall Street expectations as coal and industrial revenue weakened.
Company shares fell more than 3%. The railroad said it expects shipping volume to grow roughly 6% overall in 2021 as the economy recovers from the pandemic and industrial production increases. Union Pacific Corp. cut its expenses 3%, to $3 billion, as it worked to improve productivity during the quarter. Union Pacific is one of the nation’s largest railroads, and it operates 32,400 miles of track in 23 Western states.
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With a strong push from taxpayers, Southwest Airlines is the first major U.S. airline to report a profit since the pandemic started, and airlines executives say that the worst of the pandemic-caused crisis for their industry appears to be over.
Leisure travel within the U.S. has picked up recently, with about 1.4 million travelers going through airports each day this month. Still, that remains about 40% below the pre-pandemic pace of 2019. Lucrative business travel and long-haul international flying remain much more deeply depressed, down around 80% from 2019. Southwest, the fourth-largest U.S. airline, is benefitting more from the pickup in U.S. leisure travel because it is less dependent than its biggest rivals — American, Delta and United — on business travelers, and it doesn’t fly to Europe or Asia, which are mostly closed to American visitors.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. reported net income of $116 million in the first quarter. However, Southwest received $1.45 billion in federal aid to help cover labor costs, and without that and other temporary items, the Dallas-based carrier would have lost $1 billion. The results were 3 cents per share better than Wall Street expectations. Revenue fell 52% to $2.05 billion.
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Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell for the second consecutive month in March because there are so few on the market, and the fierce competition for those that do exist is pushing prices to new highs.
Existing home sales fell 3.7% last month from February to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 6.01 million annualized units, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. Sales jumped 12.3% from March last year. Homes typically sold in 18 days last month, a record low. It’s less than the 20 days in February, and much faster than the average of 29 days last year at this time.
Sales are slowing despite the speed at which buyers are pouncing on homes that do hit the market, revealing surging demand in an ultra-low inventory environment, said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. The inventory of unsold homes stood at just 1.07 million at the end of March, only a slight improvement over the record-low 1.03 million homes in February. And it’s tumbled 28.2% from levels just a year earlier.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/features/story/2021/apr/24/business-highlights-roundup-top-economy-stories/868578/