Canadian National Railway Co. $92 – Toronto symbol CNR

CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY CO. $92 (Toronto symbol CNR; SI Rating: Average) is Canada’s largest railway, with 19,300 miles of track in Canada and the United States. Goods shipped include forest products, petroleum and chemicals, and grain and fertilizers.

In the third quarter of 2005, CN earned $1.47 a share (total $411 million), up 23.5% from $1.19 a share ($346 million) a year earlier. Most of the gain came from higher freight rates to offset rising fuel costs. Revenue rose 5.9%, to $1.8 billion from $1.7 billion.

The company is still the most efficient railroad in North America. Its operating ratio (regular operating expenses divided by revenue — the lower, the better) fell to 63.3% in the most recent quarter, from 65.4% a year earlier.

The stock recently got as high as $96, but still trades at a reasonable 14.8 times its likely 2006 profit of $6.22 a share. The $1.00 dividend yields 1.1%.

CN Rail is a buy.

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