January 8, 2019 / 12:38 PM / a year ago

BUZZ-Union Pacific Corp: Jumps after appointing CNR veteran Jim Vena as COO

** Railroad operating company’s shares gain 8.2 pct at $149.98 premarket after naming Jim Vena chief operating officer

** UNP on pace for best day since March 2009

** Vena served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Canadian National Railway Co until retiring in June 2016, after 40 years with the company

** RBC upgrades UNP to “outperform” from “sector perform”, says management is making the right moves

** Brokerage believes management has taken an important step towards implementing Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) with the hiring of Vena

** While RBC was initially skeptical on UNP’s likelihood of successfully implementing PSR, following the appointment of a seasoned PSR veteran in the COO role, it expects dramatic changes and stock to react favorably

** In Sept, UNP announced plans to implement PSR, which is shifting operations focus to moving cars from moving trains and combining services in order to use more general-purpose trains rather than specialized ones

** Brokerage also raises PT to $179 from $151, implying an upside of 29 pct to stock’s last close

** The avg rating on UNP is “buy”; Median PT $165.59

** Stock had risen 3 pct in 2018 (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru)

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