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How This Trucking Stock Wins From a Manufacturing Boom

By Jeremy Bowman and Jason Hall – Dec 3, 2021 at 9:15AM

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Old Dominion Freight Line has quietly crushed the market over the last decade, and it could get better.

Old Dominion Freight Lines (ODFL -0.73%) has been a longtime winner on the stock market, delivering strong profit margins and steady growth in the less-than-truckload transportation industry. With a wave of manufacturing jobs set to come back the U.S., Old Dominion Freight Lines should benefit.

In this segment of "The 5" recorded on Nov. 23, Fool contributors Jeremy Bowman and Jason Hall discuss Old Dominion Freight Line's prospects from the reshoring movement and the company's other competitive advantages.

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Jason Hall: This is definitely very "picks and shovels," but far more nimble. You don't think of heavy-duty trucks as being something that's nimble, but this is a nimble company.

Jeremy Bowman: Yeah, and I like the irony in that. I was thinking along those same lines as well, but yes, my choice is Old Dominion Freight Line. This is a less than truckload operator, so they transport small shipments for a wide range of companies. I think, to me, that manufacturing on-shoring, what that says is that's going to be good for the industrial economy. It's going to be good for transportation. We're moving supply chains back in the country, so we're not just talking about goods going to the end user but stuff needs to get to the manufacturing plant as well. Whether we're talking about, semiconductors or building materials, chemicals, whatever. These companies are opening and Old Dominion has been a great stock to own and it's really a best-in-class operator in its segment. In the most recent quarter, their operating margin was close to 30 percent, which is pretty phenomenal, especially when you think of an industrial company. You don't normally think of margins like that.

Jason Hall: Trucking and logistics historically is single-digit operating margins. These are incredible margins that they're able to generate.

Jeremy Bowman: Yeah, and I think this is definitely a company with some competitive advantages. It's a difficult industry to break into. I think they are sensitive to macroeconomic factors, so I think this movement might definitely be good for them.

Jason Hall has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Jeremy Bowman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Old Dominion Freight Line. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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