If you’re looking for a sign that the market rally may prove enduring, look no further than the Dow Jones Transportation Average. The index may not have confirmed the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s new high yet, but it’s certainly moving in the right direction.
The DJTA remains 14.5 percent off its December 2014 high through Tuesday’s close, but it’s up 18.9 percent from its January low and up 11.1 percent since a post-Brexit low on June 27.
Here’s a look at why the index enjoyed liftoff:
Having peaked at various times in 2015, most of the airlines in the DJTA hit new lows the Monday after the Brexit vote. Since then, the market has signaled that travel will continue even if the UK is not part of the EU.
This week, the industry’s shares were helped along by news from American Airlines that its credit card deals with Citigroup and Barclays will add $1.55 billion to pretax income over the next two and a half years. In addition, “United [Airlines] said it sees Q2 consolidated passenger unit revenue falling 6.5 percent-6.75 percent, better than an earlier forecast for a decline of up to 7.5 percent. The company cited higher fares internationally and stronger business travel at the end of June as reasons for the improvement,” Investor’s Business Daily reported.
The article also pointed out that Deutsche Bank analysts have upgraded ratings and lifted price targets for United, American, and Delta, saying that headwinds like Brexit, weaker global growth, and excess capacity have been fully priced into their shares already while improvements in unit revenue have not.
The trucking companies’ stocks in the DJTA were less affected by Brexit than those of their airline counterparts, perhaps because truckers typically are more domestically focused than many of the airlines. The industry has suffered from overcapacity and the expense of rising wages, but it has benefited from lower fuel costs and increasing volumes hauled. The ATA Truck Tonnage Index isn’t far from the all-time high hit in percent February.
Back on Track
The railroad industry was hit both by the depression in the coal industry and the recession in fracking. After hitting a recent peak in December 2014, rail volume suffered from declines in shipments of coal, metals, chemicals and petroleum products.
Railroad company shares, which had a miserable 2015, have come to life this year. Union Pacific shares climbed 17.7 percent ytd through Tuesday’s close, Kansas City Southern is up 22.3 percent, with lesser gains coming from CSX, 4.1 percent, and Norfolk Southern, 4.5 percent. Perhaps they’re looking forward to a time when volume declines are anniversaried. In the past month, railcar loadings excluding coal has shown positive increases in volume.
Indeed, the outlook for railroad industry earnings brightens considerably when 2016 concludes. This year, analysts forecast a 4.6 percent decline in earnings, followed by an 11.2 percent increase in 2017 earnings and a 10.0 percent jump in 2018. Meanwhile, the industry trades at a reasonable 14.5 times 2017’s forecasted EPS.
Dr. Ed Yardeni
is the President of Yardeni Research, Inc., a provider of independent global investment strategy research. To read more of his blogs, CLICK HERE NOW.
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