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FedEx Corporation (FDX)

FedEx driver loading boxes into delivery truck day exterior
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At a time when the global supply chain is bogged down from end-to-end, FedEx’s expertise in providing logistics solutions is more valuable than ever.

And with consumers getting used to having their products delivered to their doors, FedEx has been able to increase both shipping volumes and prices.

After increasing its dividend by almost 37 per cent over the past three years, FedEx now pays investors an annual dividend of $3.00 per share.

The foundation’s portfolio included almost 1.5 million shares of FedEx in the second quarter of 2021. The shares have slipped since then, but Gates’ stake in the company is still worth about $354 million. They’re in line for a roughly $4.5 million dividend payout this year.

FedEx currently offers a dividend yield of 1.3 per cent.

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Walmart Inc. (WMT)

People shopping at a Walmart store in south San Francisco bay area
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With grocery stores deemed essential businesses, Walmart was able to keep its more than 4,700 stores in the U.S. largely open throughout the pandemic.

Not only has the company increased both profits and market share since COVID coughed its way across the country, it has also established itself as a safe bet for investors come the next planet-wide catastrophe.

Gates owns a pile of Walmart shares — about 7.6 million of them. That accounts for about 4.5 per cent of the foundation’s entire stock portfolio.

Walmart has steadily increased its dividends over the past 45 years. Its annual payout is currently $2.20 per share, so the foundation can expect a payment in the neighborhood of $16.7 million from the company in 2021.

Walmart currently trades at roughly $148 per share after a strong rally over the past month. But if you’re on the fence about jumping at such a high price, some investing apps might allow you to buy a fractional share of Walmart just for signing up.

Canadian National Railway Company

Canadian National Railway near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
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Canadian National Railway, or CN, has a 20,000-mile-plus rail network that spans from Canada to Central America. The company has access to all three North American coastlines — the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico — making it unique among North American rail companies.

It’s been a very good 2021 for CN.

In Q2, operating income rose by 76 per cent year over year to $1.1 billion. Meanwhile, revenue reached $2.9 billion.

The Gates foundation owns almost 14 million shares of CN. The company’s quarterly dividend is 61.5 cents, 7 per cent higher than it was last year.

CN shares currently sport a dividend yield of 1.5 per cent.

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Gates’ secret weapon

Gold Wheat flied panorama with tree at sunset, rural countryside
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In January of 2021, Bill and Melinda Gates owned more U.S. farmland than anyone else in America. And it’s not hard to see why.

Between 1992 and 2020, farmland returned an average of 11 per cent per year. Over the same time frame, the S&P 500 returned only 8 per cent. And with the global population poised to hit 10 billion by 2050, there will be no shortage of mouths to feed.

Farmland used to be off-limits to the average investor but today there are two farmland REITs (real estate investment trusts) available to investors: Gladstone Land Corporation (LAND) and Farmland Partners (FPI).

You could also look into agricultural fertilizer companies such as Mosaic, or agricultural machinery manufacturers like AGCO Corporation.

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The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.