Union Pacific's stock soars toward biggest gain in 10 years after new COO hire prompts bullish analyst calls
Shares of Union Pacific Corp. shot up 8.6% in morning trade Tuesday, putting them on track for the biggest one-day gain since April 2009, after the hiring of a new chief operating officer prompted bullish analyst calls. Late Monday, the railroad operator named Jim Vena as COO, effective Jan. 14. Vena was previously COO at Canadian National Railway Co. until he retired in June 2016 after 40 years with the company. Cowen analyst Jason Seidl followed by upgrading Union Pacific to outperform from market perform, saying the hiring of Vena was the "missing piece" for the company, as it gives him more confidence in the company's ability to implement its precision scheduled railroading strategy. Seidl raised his stock price target to $178 from $153. Wolfe Research analyst Scott Group recommended investors "buy the news" regarding Vena, as he "significantly increases the probability of PSR success." Group reiterated his outperform rating but raised his price target to $179 from $162. The stock has still lost 8.5% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has dropped 16.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 10.7%. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.