List of Rail Stocks: A Steady, Boring But Highly Profitable Industry

By
A A A

(List compiled by Becca Lipman)

At one time, building the Transcontinental Railroad was as big of a deal as landing a man on the moon. In the 1800s, before their very eyes Americans watched as railroads shaped the country through colonization and industrialization.

It was an interesting chapter in American History, and if TV shows like Thomas The Tank Engine and the favorite classic "The Little Engine that Could" have anything to say about it, railroads are still cool.

However, that "coolness" factor doesn't quite transfer to railroad stocks, which could be numbered among the more unsexy industries out there.

But the coast-to-coast connection is just as irreplaceable to industry and transportation today as it was way-back-then. The top 24 US commuter rails report an average total ridership of 1.75 millionpeople per weekday. As for freight loading railroad and rail shipping companies, annual revenues are well into the billions. 

While improvements are constantly being made to boost the number of train cars and on-time deliveries, railroads companies have one of the few business models that have hardly changed in the last century. But don't be fooled by this lack of "progress," for railroads there's no need to change a perfect system.

And railroad freight industries have played their cards well: "As freight loads increase and begin to consume nearly all rail capacity, the companies simply jack up prices and enjoy the fattened bottom line," says Jeff Bailey of Y Charts.

We listed the top performing railroad stocks over the last year. We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last year. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

Will these stocks continue keep up the profit returns? Use the data below as a starting point for your own analysis.

Analyze These Ideas (Tools Will Open In A New Window)

1. Access a thorough description of all companies mentioned
2. Compare analyst ratings for all stocks mentioned below
3. Visualize annual returns for all stocks mentioned

1. American Railcar Industries (ARII): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $476.75M. The stock has performed very well over the last year, gaining 58.03%. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 5.54% over the last week.

2. CSX Corp. (CSX): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $27.03B. The stock has gained 42.99% over the last year.

3. Greenbrier Companies (GBX): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $519.81M. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.98). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.18% over the last week.

4. Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWR): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $2.33B. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.08% (equivalent to 9.63 days of average volume). The stock has gained 41.26% over the last year

5. Kansas City Southern (KSU): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $6.46B. The stock has performed very well over the last year, gaining 60.21%.

6. Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $26.89B. The stock has gained 39.13% over the last year.

7. RailAmerica, Inc. (RA): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $761.97M. The stock has performed very well over the last year, gaining 36.83%.

8. Trinity Industries Inc. (TRN): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $2.50B. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.49). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.91% (equivalent to 9.36 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 9.67% over the last week.

9. Union Pacific Corporation (UNP): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $50.13B. The stock has performed very well over the last year, gaining 39.22%.

10. Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (WAB): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $3.17B. The stock has performed very well over the last year, gaining 48.12%.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks


Kapitall

Kapitall

More from Kapitall:

Related Videos

Stocks

Referenced

100%
90%
100%
100%
50%

Most Active by Volume

65,878,391
  • $102.25 ▲ 0.12%
60,267,006
  • $16.01 ▼ 1.17%
45,656,511
  • $13.11 ▼ 4.17%
34,766,553
  • $49.43 ▲ 2.85%
34,661,727
  • $3.60 ▲ 0.28%
29,041,259
  • $19.12 ▼ 0.47%
21,343,464
  • $73.855 ▼ 1.04%
19,552,720
  • $10.85 ▼ 3.13%
As of 8/28/2014, 04:03 PM

Find a Credit Card

Select a credit card product by:
Select an offer:
Search
Data Provided by BankRate.com