Much like the trucking industry, rail freight is a great barometer of economic health. Yesterday, the AAR reported that rail freight was down over 20% YoY for the week ending April 10th. This was the second worst reading this year in what appears to be another sign that the stock market is getting ahead of itself. As you can see below, rail freight was a leading indicator during the 2002 downturn and weakened well in advance of the stock market decline in 2007. I can’t be positive that it will be a leading indicator this time around, but one thing is certain: it is not displaying any signs of strength.
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