Rail Stocks: Profit From Trucking Woes

With high diesel-fuel prices putting the squeeze on trucking, what if you could take a lot of trailers, hook them all together, and haul them with one truck? Well, you can, sort of. It's called a train, and the situation has kept shares of railroad companies in the green for quite a while now.

Kevin Kirkeby of Standard and Poor's, and Lee Klaskow of Longbow Research told CNBC which railroad stocks top their lists.


Both analysts like Norfolk Southern.

"In the near term, we see they've got several coal mines from their customers coming on, and they've been investing heavily with an eye to the longer term, to open up some corridors into the interior, to take advantage of more container volume coming into the East Coast," Kirkeby said.

"For us, NSC is really the only true value that's left in the market," Klaskow added. "What's really holding this stock back...it has a large exposure to the auto industry."

Kirkeby's second pick is Canadian National, which not only has an extensive rail network north of the border, but operates several freight lines in the United States as well.

"You have to ask yourself, 'What else could go wrong with this company?'" he said. "You look at first quarter, you had weather, you had currency, plant shutdowns...it's lagged its peers, its valuations are at a discount, any good news coming out of its end markets should benefit that stock."

Klaskow favors Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

"What BNI has, and what it does really well, is it has a large exposure to more defensive commodity types," he said. "Seventy-two percent of its assets are tied to coal, ag(riculture), or intermodal."


Neither Kirkeby, his family, or his firm owns shares of Norfolk Southern or Canadian National.

Neither Klaskow, his family, or his firm owns shares of Norfolk Southern or Burlington Northern Santa Fe.