Many railroad companies have become more efficient, cutting costs wherever they can, which should help bolster their bottom line ahead. Additionally, market observers are optimistic about a cyclical recovery where U.S. consumers and businesses spend more, which would add to increased activity through railways and transportation sectors. Railroads are popular plays among some of the largest investors, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. [Sector ETF to Play Warren Buffett, Bill Gates’ Pick]

“BofA analysts led by Ken Hoexter look at the past 30 years to see what this type of steep decline usually means for the U.S. economy. What they found wasn’t particularly encouraging: All such drops in rail carloads preceded, or were accompanied by, an economic slowdown,” according to Bloomberg.

iShares Transportation Average ETF