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CSX Corp.'s third-quarter net earnings dipped slightly to $507 million versus $509 million, while revenue declined 9 percent as price gains were offset by lower fuel costs, declining volumes and ongoing transition in the business mix, the Class I announced yesterday.Still, CSX's third-quarter earnings per share came in at 52 cents, up a penny compared with a year ago and beating analysts' expectations.Also falling in the third-quarter were expenses, which declined 11 percent due to lower fuel prices, cost-cutting and efficiency initiatives. As a result, the company's $933 million in operating income drove a third-quarter record operating ratio of 68.3 percent."CSX's third-quarter results demonstrate the company's ability to leverage improving service while controlling costs in a dynamic environment where commodity prices and the strength of the U.S. dollar are challenging many of our markets," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward in a press release. "Our performance supports strong pricing and continued efficiency gains as we continue to drive value for customers and shareholders."CSX is continuing to target full-year expectations for earnings per share growth in the mid-single digits and meaningful margin expansion as it advances toward its goal of a full-year operating ratio in the mid-60s, company officials said.The company is sticking with those goals despite facing continuing headwinds in the coal market. CSX expects 2015 coal revenue to decline $450 million due to low natural gas prices and high inventory levels. Domestic coal volume is expected to decline by more than 10 percent in 2015, while the full-year outlook for export coal volume remains at about 30 million tons."These significant coal headwinds are now also expected to continue in 2016," CSX officials said.
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