Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. $48 – Toronto symbol CP

CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY LTD. $48 (Toronto symbol CP; SI Rating: Above average) transports freight such as grain, coal, and industrial products over a 14,000-mile rail network in Canada and the United States. Alliances with other rail companies extend CP’s operations to Mexico.

In the three months ended September 30, 2005, CP earned $1.27 a share (total $204 million), up 14.4% from $1.11 a share ($177 million) a year earlier. If you exclude several unusual items, per-share profit rose 29.2%, to $0.84 from $0.65. Higher freight rates and the expansion of CP’s rail network in Western Canada offset higher fuel and labour costs. Consequently, CP’s operating ratio fell to 77.4% from 77.9%. Revenue rose 11.1%, to $1.1 billion from $989.7 million.

CP rose to $52 in December 2005. It moved down after Fording Canadian Coal Trust cut its 2006 production estimate. Fording, CP’s biggest customer, accounts for about 15% of its total revenue. However, this will cut CP’s 2006 profits by just $0.10 a share, as rising volumes for grain and industrial goods should offset lower coal shipments.

The stock now trades at just 13.2 times the $3.64 a share it should earn in 2006. The $0.60 dividend yields 1.3%.

CP Rail is a buy.

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