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Union Pacific profits up, volume up 5%

Union Pacific Corp. (UNP-N) reported higher quarterly profits and revenues, driven by increased volumes in all commodities it ships.
   
The No. 1 U.S. railroad said Wednesday first-quarter net income rose to $639 million US, or $1.29 per share, from $516 million, or $1.01 per share a year earlier.
   
Volumes measured by total revenue carloads grew 5 percent in the quarter from the same period last year, despite harsh winter storms and spiking fuel costs, driven by chemical and industrial products, the company said.
   
Operating revenue gained 13 percent to $4.5 billion from $4.0 billion, beating the average forecast of $4.41 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
   
"The economy is showing signs of continued, gradual improvement, and we're optimistic about the growth opportunities ahead," Chief Executive Jim Young said in a statement.
   
The company said that as of April 1 it was authorized to repurchase up to 40 million shares of its stock, and had bought back 2.6 million in the first quarter at an average price of $94.10.
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