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Union Pacific 1Q profit up 11 pct. on higher rates

OMAHA, Neb. – Union Pacific says first-quarter profit surged 11 percent as higher shipping rates offset the continued weak demand for coal.

The Omaha, Neb.,-based railroad said Thursday that it generated net income of $957 million, or $2.03 per share, in the quarter. That's up from $863 million, or $1.79 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $5.29 billion revenue from $5.1 billion revenue.

The results beat Wall Street's expectations. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings per share of $1.96 on revenue of $5.22 billion.

Union Pacific hauled 19 percent fewer carloads of coal last quarter. But strong growth in crude oil shipments and intermodal containers made up for that.

Coal demand has suffered because cheap natural gas and concerns about environmental regulations prompted many utilities to switch to using natural gas.

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