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Hershey, Knight Transportation, Norfolk Southern release Q2 earnings

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Dauphin County chocolate giant The Hershey Co., Knight Transportation and Norfolk Southern reported second-quarter earnings Wednesday and today.

The Hershey Co.

Hershey reported in-line earnings for the quarter. The Derry Township-based company reported profit of $168.2 million, or 75 cents per share, versus a year-ago profit of $159.5 million, or 70 cents per share. Excluding nonrecurring items, its earnings came in at 76 cents per share.

Net sales increased 4.6 percent to $1.58 billion from $1.51 billion last year.

For the remainder of 2014, Hershey said it expects net sales growth at the low end of its long-term target of 5 percent to 7 percent.

Net sales will be driven by Halloween and holiday seasons as well as the continued roll-out of York Minis and Hershey's Spreads instant consumable, the company said.

“Second-quarter net sales sequentially improved, as expected, versus the first quarter and we continued to make good progress against the initiatives that will drive strong results over the remainder of the year,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and CEO. “Our Easter sell through was very good and we gained 1.1 market share points in this important season. We expect our seasonal momentum to continue in the second half of the year

Hershey trades its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HSY.

Knight Transportation

Knight Transportation, which has a trucking terminal in Middlesex Township, Cumberland County, reported a strong second-quarter performance.

Knight, based in Phoenix, Ariz., reported a profit of $25.7 million, or 31 cents per share, compared with $18.9 million, or 24 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Knight launched Kool Trans LLC, a line of temperature-controlled trucks, during the quarter. Kool will use a fleet of new trucks and third-party carriers and be marketed and run separately from its existing refrigerated truck business, officials have said.

Shares of Knight trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol KNX.

Norfolk Southern Corp.

Virginia-based Norfolk Southern Corp. saw a 21 percent rise in second-quarter profit. The company reported first-quarter net income of $562 million, or $1.79 per share, up from $465 million, or $1.46 per share, in the same period of 2013.

Revenue rose 8.6 percent to $3.04 billion, up from $2.8 billion in the same quarter a year ago, the railroad said.

Norfolk Southern has significant railway operations in the Harrisburg area. The company completed a $28.6 million expansion of its Harrisburg intermodal facility last year. It is currently working on a $60.5 million expansion of its Rutherford facility in Swatara Township.

The latter, which is slated for completion in the third quarter of 2015, will add three pad tracks and 10 support lines. The project will boost annual lift capacity to nearly 350,000 intermodal boxes, meaning trailers transferred between trains and trucks.

Shares of Norfolk Southern are traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol NSC.

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