The orders included 1,200 intermodal cars used to transport containers from railroads to ships and trucks; other orders included small hoppers and tank cars used in the energy sector, and automotive-related products for the U.S. auto industry.
GBX and others that supply equipment and services to the railroad industry such as Trinity Industries (TRN -0.8%), Wabtec (WAB -0.5%) and American Railcar (ARII +1.6%) have benefited in recent years as shipments of crude oil surged.
BNSF's plan, unusual for a railroad which generally owns only the tracks and locomotives that pull trains, is intended to further the industry's push for safer movement of crude by rail in light of several recent derailments and crashes, including one involving a BNSF train in North Dakota last December.
BNSF isn't identifying railcar makers from which it will seek bids, but U.S. manufacturers include Trinity Industries (TRN +9.5%), American Railcar Industries (ARII +10.3%) and Greenbrier (GBX +5.4%).
American Railcar Industries (ARII -10.7%) slides after missing Q1 estimates. Despite the miss, total sales actually rose 7% Y/Y, primarily due to an increase in revenues from its manufacturing and leasing segments. Manufacturing revenues increased 8% as the company shifted its sales mix to focus more on tank railcars, which partially offset a decrease in the volume of hopper railcar shipments.
Shares of FreightCar America (RAIL -6.1%) tilt lower after KeyBanc slaps the company with a downgrade to Underweight from Hold along with lowered estimates for FY12 earnings. Looking ahead to next year, analysts see the company's coal car volume and revenue tailing off. It's been a bad day across the sector after an accident in China threw a spotlight on safety concerns. GBX -4.5%, ARII -7.9% on KeyBanc downgrade to Hold.