The Dow Jones Transportation Average is on the verge of producing its lengthiest series of losses since 1972, highlighting a recent slump that has taken hold of the broader stock market.
As of Friday afternoon, the Dow transports
were almost certain to register an 11th straight decline. To put that into perspective, the index, which was created by Charles Dow in 1884 (the Dow Jones Industrial Average was created in 1896), has only logged five periods in which it fell for 11 consecutive sessions, and five points where it has registered a 12-day drop, according to Dow Jones Market Data and S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Check out the complete table of declines of at least 10 sessions below:
The recent skid for the closely watched gauge is significant because it is often used as a proxy for the health of the overall economy, and the stumble comes amid increased fretting over the health of the global economy.
Fears that a contraction abroad may spillover into the U.S. were heightened early Friday after American businesses in February created the fewest number of new jobs in 17 months, a comparatively paltry 20,000 payroll additions on the month after averaging some 200,000 jobs over the past year.
That employment data came a day after the European Central Bank unfurled a fresh batch of bank stimulus to address signs of weakness in the eurozone economy.
Concerns about a knock-on effect domestically and unresolved U.S.-China tariff dispute intensified on Friday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average
to a potential fifth straight day of losses, and a decline in eight of the last nine sessions. On top of that, news out of China showing that the second-largest economy reported a 20% drop in February exports on the heels of a 9.1% gain in January, didn’t exactly incite a buying mood on Wall Street.
The benchmark reflects the performance of 20 large transportation companies, ranging from railroad operators to airlines. According to proponents of the century-old Dow Theory, the gauge, along with the Dow industrials, tends to be an accurate barometer of domestic economic health.
Alaska Air Group Inc.
(off 9.4% year to date), United Continental Holdings Inc.
(2% lower year to date), Delta Air Lines Inc.
(down 1.5% so far in 2019), American Airlines Group Inc.
(slipping 0.7% in the first three months of the year) and JetBlue Airways Corp.
(down 0.3% in 2019), are the worst performers among the Dow transports.
Friday’s decline put the Dow, the S&P 500 index
and the Nasdaq Composite Index
on track for their worst monthly declines since 2009, according to preliminary data from Dow Jones Market Data.
For the week, the Dow is poised for a 2.7% drop, the S&P 500 is on track to lose 2.7% and the Nasdaq is facing a 3% decline, which would end a 10-week win streak for the tech-heavy gauge. Transports, meanwhile, are poised for 4% weekly drop, which would be the worst since the period ended Dec. 21, 2018.
All that said, markets also are coming off a brisk pace of gains to start the year, with the Dow and S&P 500 still boasting a year-to-date return of more than 8%, the Nasdaq up 11.1% thus far in 2019, and transports up 9.5% in the first three months of the year, despite the index’s recent slide.
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