Canadian National Railway (NYSE:CNI) has quietly made massive profits for investors who've held the stock and reinvested dividends through the past couple of decades. The company has increased its dividend every year since 1995 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16% through 2019.
Railroads haul one-third of U.S. exports and support nearly $220 billion in economic output each year. It's an essential industry and Canadian National's a leading player in it, operating the longest rail network in North America covering nearly 20,000 route miles, and the only one connecting the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts.
Canadian National is also an efficient and diverse railroad, moving goods from many vital commodity markets including petroleum, grains, metals, and forest products. The company pumped a record $3.9 billion Canadian dollars into capital investments last year and is upping its automation game. For example, its Autonomous Track Inspection Program, which uses artificial intelligence to monitor and test track parameters in real time, could reduce the need for manual inspections by 50%.
Canadian National's a well-established, well-run company in a critical industry, is investing in growth, and pays one heck of a dividend. That's a great package to own for a lifetime.
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