From the March "Cass Freight Index" report:

Manufacturing and production have turned a corner and are back in expansion mode. Strong new orders and backlog figures bode well for the freight sector. Imports were up in February, especially for autos and parts. Sales of cars and pickup trucks ‐ which are considered a harbinger of recovery in the construction sector ‐ rose sharply in March. New housing starts actually fell for the first two months of 2014, but permits were up 5 percent. January and February are traditionally low because of the weather, and this year's weather has been especially severe. Rising home prices and interest rates will likely have a dampening effect going forward.

All in all, lots of strengthening in the economy, but taking everything into consideration the signals are still mixed. It will be interesting to see if we can continue to climb up or if we will keep with the trend of recent years and stumble in the second quarter.

From Association of American Railroads 5/1/14 report:

Increased Weekly Rail Traffic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 1, 2014 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for the week ending April 26, 2014 with 302,108 total U.S. carloads, up 9.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 264,228 units, up 6.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 566,336 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.2 percent compared with the same week last year.

Doesn't look like imminent recession. Plus Sam Eisenstadt is bullish at least till September.


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