More Mixed Signals In Rail Traffic Data

Includes: IYT, XTN
by: Cullen Roche

This week's rail traffic data showed more mixed results as carloads posted another decline and intermodal traffic came in slightly positive. Carloads were off 5.3%, while intermodal jumped 2% on a year-over-year basis. The 10-week moving average for intermodal traffic remains positive at 3.5%, which is consistent with a sluggish, but growing economy. The AAR has the details on this week's report:

"The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending March 17, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 278,420 carloads, down 5.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 227,138 trailers and containers, up 2 percent compared with the same week last year.

Eleven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 32 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 15.5 percent, and stone, clay and glass products, up 11.3 percent. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included farm products excluding grain, down 21.9 percent, and coal, down 14.7 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 4.9 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 5.5 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first eleven weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,112,940 carloads, down 1.8 percent from last year, and 2,453,272 trailers and containers, up 2.3 percent from last year."

Disclosures: Unless otherwise noted, authors have no positions in any securities mentioned and readers should never consider this to be investment advice. Always consult your financial advisor before acting on any ideas.