(By Balaseshan) Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE:UNP) shares advanced 2.28 percent in premarket trading on Thursday, after the U.S. railroad's quarterly earnings topped market expectations as volume growth, pricing gains and improved fuel surcharge recovery drove jump in revenue.
Earnings increased to $1.0 billion or $2.10 per share for the second quarter from $785 million or $1.59 per share in the year-ago quarter.
Operating revenue grew 7 percent to $5.22 billion, with freight revenue adding 7 percent.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.97 per share on revenue of $5.23 billion.
For the first quarter of 2012, UNP earned $1.79 per share on operating revenue of $5.11 billion.
Four of Union Pacific's six business groups - automotive, industrial products, chemicals and intermodal - reported volume and double-digit freight revenue growth. Revenue at Automotive jumped 25 percent, Industrial Products climbed 14 percent, Chemicals grew 13 percent and Intermodal went up 10 percent.
Union Pacific's operating ratio of 67.0 percent was an all-time quarterly best, 4.3 points better than the second quarter 2011 and 1.2 points better than the previous record set in the third quarter 2010.
UNP shares, which have been trading in the range of $77.73 to $119.94 over the past 52 weeks, closed Wednesday's regular trading at $118.60.