Two very strong companies I follow reported earnings Monday that were hit by weakness in the U.S. housing market. The fact that neither one of them is a homebuilder reveals that housing pain reaches all the way up the value chain, far beyond the likes of KB Home
While Canadian National Railway
Yes, the operating ratio jumped a few percentage points, but it's a lower ratio that indicates better efficiency. Think of it as the mirror of operating margin -- when margin falls, the ratio rises. Even with a bump up to 62%, it's still an enviable figure.
A year of flat earnings growth, adjusted for one-time gains, doesn't get anyone's engine running. But I like how this rail operator conducts itself, and I'd be reluctant to abandon it for less timber-exposed rival Canadian Pacific Railway
Ratcheting up that exposure a notch or two brings us to Plum Creek Timber
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