A transportation sector-specific exchange traded fund has been gaining steam as shares of airlines, railroads, and trucking companies enjoy their longest streak of weekly gains in over a century.
The iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT), which tracks the Dow Jones Transportation Average Index, has increased 23.3% year-to-date.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average was on track to advance for its 13th consecutive week, marking the index’s longest streak of weekly gains since it rose for 15 consecutive weeks ended back in January 1899, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The rally in transportation stocks reflect investor optimism that the rebounding economic growth will boost profits at transportation companies carrying goods and raw materials, such as Norfolk Southern Corp. and Expeditors International of Washington Inc. The ongoing rollout of coronavirus vaccines and federal stimulus money have fueled bets of a rapid return to the pre-pandemic economy.
“[A transportation rally] is certainly a positive harbinger for the economy. Whether it’s a harbinger for continued stock-market gains is a little bit more in question,” Doug Ramsey, chief investment officer at the Leuthold Group, told the WSJ.
The sharp recovery this year marks a stark contrast to precipitous decline last year when transportation company stocks fell to multi-year lows after the coronavirus pandemic closed borders, grounded flights, and shuttered factories.
“Costs are continuing to decline, and with volumes coming back, [railroads]are poised to outperform,” Adam Scheiner, industrials analyst at UBS Global Wealth Management, told the WSJ. “Airlines are favorable because the group has still lagged the market.”
Additionally, U.S. railroad traffic for first 16 weeks of the year was 9.4% higher compared to the same period last year.
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