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Jefferies: Transport Stocks To Outrun Market In 2013

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Transportation stocks -- including airlines, truckers and freight carriers -- sped past the broad market this year. Analysts believe they'll continue racing a long time before putting on the brakes.

IShares Dow Jones Transportation Average ( IYT ) was up 17.39% year to date in the stock market today and 17.34% in the past year, while the SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ) added 9.12% and 10.65% over the same periods.

The For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.6% in February after rising 1% the first month of the year, the American Trucking Association reported Tuesday. It has advanced four months in a row -- its longest winning streak since late 2011 -- to the second-highest reading on record. The index rose 4.2% year over year in February after lifting 4.6% year over year in January.

The widely watched economic barometer tracked by the ATA represents two-thirds of manufactured and retail goods carried by all domestic freight transport modes.

"2013 is poised to be the year of transports," Peter Nesvold and Tavio Headley, analysts at Jefferies, wrote in a client note. "February's solid tonnage reading would seem to disprove the argument that January's strength was due to an easy comp from the timing of Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, our channel checks generally suggest that truckloads continue to exceed year-over-year levels and are off to a strong start so far in March."

IYT has zoomed 29% off of a 52-week low reached in November. Jefferies analysts say the rebound suggests inventory restocking is underway after destocking in the second half of 2012 ahead of the fiscal cliff deadline.

"We believe that this rally still has legs, given nascent signs of wholesale restocking and continued strength in auto sales and housing prices," Jefferies analysts wrote. "Accordingly, we see another 15 or so points of outperformance left in the group based on the historical swings."

IYT sports a healthy IBD Relative Strength Rating of 77, indicating it's outrun 77% of the stock market in the past 12 months. Its robust A Accumulation/Distribution Rating, on an A-to-E scale, means institutional investors are backing up the truck to load up on shares. It trades high above both its 50- and 200-day moving averages, indicating a strong uptrend.

Guggenheim Shipping ETF ( SEA ), an international basket of cargo shipping firms, sailed 8.20% year to date while losing 6.75% in the past year. That's while iSharesMSCI EAFE Index ( EFA ), tracking developed foreign markets, added 4.45% and 7.71% over the same periods.IShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ) has lost 4.6% year to date and 1.47% the past year.

Follow Trang Ho on Twitter @TrangHoETFs .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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