To many sector watchers, there is no debate; the primacy of rail volume data is irrefutable. But it's a testament to the power of Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A)acquisition of Burlington Northern (BNI) that it may have derailed convention long-term sector wisdom -- at least temporarily.
Indeed, even though the November acquisition had an immediate and potentially negative secondary impact -- some institutional investors will be forced to divest Berkshire holdings once Burlington's stock is folded within it -- buy-and-hold railroad investors received a big wish in the form of a big boost to the railroad industry. Reinvestment is likely to come in the true railroad stocks left on the landscape, anyway, stocks which investors also hope will benefit from Buffett's bet.
Be careful what you wish for, though: the law of unintended (market) consequences has resulted in fears of mini-bubbles in the rail sector being triggered by Buffett's bet, as outlined in
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