August 8, 2012
The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Conversations" series, in which industrials editor/analyst Isaac Pino and research analyst Austin Smith discuss topics around the investing world.
Today, Isaac discusses recent weakness in coal traffic at CSX railroad, a large East Coast operator. A 14% decline in coal revenue was largely driven by softer demand domestically in the second quarter. However, the company remains on track, as international markets with less access to natural gas supplies are clamoring for coal as an resource. As a result, revenue and earnings for CSX remained steady in the second quarter, boosted by growth in automotive, agricultural, and energy shipments.
CSX and Union Pacific, two of the largest U.S. railroads, have recently pivoted toward logistics businesses, driven by intermodal shipments and a wide variety of behind-the-scenes services. Isaac thinks a 150-year-old industry is suddenly becoming quite diverse and nimble.
The economics of the railroad industry are driven by a competitive edge over trucking alternatives, as well as sound investment in infrastructure and logistics services. Warren Buffett has expressed his enthusiasm for the overall industry, but it's not the only one that he believes is poised for a rebound. In fact, the stock he's really been interested in is discussed in the report "The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors Are Buying." You can learn about it for a limited time -- click here to keep reading.