Money Minute: Trucking Industry Leading Road to Recovery

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Worries are mounting that the economic rebound is stalling out, but there are also some positive signs driving the economy higher.

The trucking industry is often considered a leading indicator of what's up the road for the economy, and the trucks are rumbling along. Bloomberg reports demand for big rigs is at an eight-year high and that pay for truck drivers is on the rise, because drivers are in short supply. The truck utilization rate has been above 99 percent since last November.

A government agency has given preliminary approval to new rules to keep the Internet open to all content companies. The Federal Communications Commission plan would stop Internet providers from giving preferential treatment to some sites over others. At the same time it would allow content providers such as Netflix (NFLX) to pay more to move their Web traffic more quickly.

The plan would also classify Internet providers such as Comcast (CMCSA), Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) as utilities, which could mean more regulations for the industry. The FCC is trying to replace the so-called "Net neutrality" rules that were struck down by federal courts. The consequences for consumers are still unknown.

Meanwhile, Comcast says it may eventually require consumers to pay more if they exceed some undetermined limit on data use. But a company executive says "the vast majority" of customers wouldn't be affected.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) slid 167 points on Thursday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) fell 17, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 31 points.

Once each quarter, hedge funds and other big time investors report on major changes in the portfolio of stocks the own. Warren Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B), bought a big stake in Verizon during the first quarter, and sold shares of General Motors (GM) and DirecTV (DTV).

Big moves by other heavy-duty investors include:
  • George Soros sold J.C. Penney (JCP), as well as banking giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C).
  • David Tepper added to his Internet plays, Facebook (FB) and Expedia (EXPE).
  • Carl Icahn bought into eBay but sold shares of Netflix.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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30 Comments

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drbobdez

Enough already with the anecdotal insights. "Car Loadings" have been used as a metric for economic activity since before the Great Depression. You do not have to guess at this stuff.
Read and learn. The data to May 15 are graphed (along with the data sources) at http://www.yardeni.com/pub/ecoindrailcar.pdf

May 16 2014 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thefacts22

Truckers leading the way to "recovery"? "really" many times I heard in "business" aol....USA is in the way to recovery....but "what recovery"?...I would say we under way to decline and collapse under this regime This is absurd!

May 16 2014 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Most of the freight is hauled for retailers so what does that tell you?

May 16 2014 at 3:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment
thefacts22

Investor Center does not know...besides What difference does it makes?

May 16 2014 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Russ Folden

If that's the case, then maybe the fricking cops should leave us alone and focus on the real highway problems, like the 4 wheelers!!!

May 16 2014 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Must be a pick up in CDL licenses to go along with these trucks since more new truck drivers will need the license.

May 16 2014 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Right then there should be a diesel fuel shortage from the pent up demand.

May 16 2014 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edmund F Avolio

Too bad they are not hauling consumer products MADE in the US. If they were, we would be able to employ the 24 million put out of work by offshore products SOLD in the US.

May 16 2014 at 1:22 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Edmund F Avolio's comment
Iselin007

Eventually the bottom will fall out of this hyped market place then the spinners will need that new medical product so they don't stink.

May 16 2014 at 2:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
thefacts22

Unions and Immigrants do not like to work,they rather stay home and collect all the hand outs,the regime like it that way,and for the last 6 years we have been borrowing IDIOCRACY

May 16 2014 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cbstinc

What in the world are you talking about, the trucking industry on the rise? are you kiddding me.I'm in the trucking industry, and there is less and less loads available as time pases..yes truckers are buying more trucks, and that is happening in California, because of the new regulations..truckers in california are basicaly force to buy newer trucks or else they won't be able to work. another political arrengement to benefit some greddy individuals..but that the trucking industry is on the rise, Please>> tell me something that I don't know

May 16 2014 at 12:30 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to cbstinc's comment
pgile

"The truck utilization rate has been above 99 percent since last November." That has nothing to do with buying new trucks. More than 99% are hauling freight. End of 'debate'.

May 16 2014 at 2:30 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to pgile's comment
Iselin007

Using 99% because they cut back on people and trucks choosing to maximize a smaller fleet's capacity.

May 16 2014 at 3:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
thefacts22

Could be the end for you.I have friends in the trucking business and it sucks....The regime is always lying and confused

May 16 2014 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Iselin007

Use of trucks to haul closing businesses's freight or foreclosures more likely.

May 16 2014 at 2:53 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Yellin sees another picture on the economy. A sudden rise in interest rates would drop the economy.

May 16 2014 at 12:19 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment
thefacts22

What economy? USA grew 0.1.....At least a rise in CD rates will benefit savers

May 16 2014 at 4:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

The over age 16 Civilian non institutional is to high and the Labor participation rate too low to see any thing positive in this article regarding a trucking boom.

May 16 2014 at 12:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply