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A Century-Old Technique for Analyzing the Market Is Raising a Warning for Investors

Cargo passes on a Union Pacific freight train near the J.R. Davis Yard in Roseville, California, U.S.

Cargo passes on a Union Pacific freight train near the J.R. Davis Yard in Roseville, California, U.S.

Ken James/Bloomberg

Transportation stocks are trailing the Dow Jones Industrial Average by the most in more than two years, raising concern among investors who follow a market-analysis technique that’s more than a century old.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average has fallen 4.8 percent this year as the industrial average climbed 1.2 percent, the biggest divergence over comparable spans of time since October 2012. The transportation gauge has lost almost 5 percent in less than a month and on Tuesday dipped below its average from the past 200 days for the eighth time since March 26.