The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust’s Top Stocks and the One It Dumped

Despite a lousy year and a 19% slide in value, Larson and his team left their investment in Canadian National Railway (USA) (NYSE:CNI) untouched. The investment trust holds 17.1 million shares, valued at $957 million at the end of December. One reason for holding the stock might be Canadian National Railway (USA) (NYSE:CNI)’s recent plans to buy back its stock. At the end of October 2015, the company’s Board of Directors approved the buyback of up to 33 million shares, approximately 5% of the total number of shares outstanding. Canadian National Railway (USA) (NYSE:CNI) also pays an annual dividend of $0.97 per share, providing shareholders with a yield of 1.70%.

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Larson and his team seem to have been confident that Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) was poised for a comeback, having refrained from altering their position in the company, which amounts to 11.30 million shares worth $765 million at the end of 2015. Similar to the other stocks discussed above, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) pays shareholders an annual dividend, amounting to $3.01 per share, providing a juicy 4.5% yield. The recent slump in commodity prices and slow economic growth have reduced demand for the company’s heavy machinery, as sales dropped by 23% during the fourth quarter to $11.03 billion. Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) also reported a loss of $87 million for the period. However, when adjusted for restructuring costs, earnings stood at $0.74 per share, above expectations of $0.69 per share. Those numbers provided a boost for the stock, with it having rallied by 15% since the earnings report was issued.

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