Can trains and trash predict the economy?
I wish I paid more attention to my wonderful colleagues. One of my fellow professors, Suzanne Coshow, shared an interesting article with me. It is an article that relates railways, trash and the economy. What? Apparently, the amount of waste hauled by railways is a slight leading indicator of the economy. After looking at the article and accompanying chart I can only concur. To access this article, click here.
To put this into perspective let me relate this brief story. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings I join my students at the Huddle, our on campus union building, to have a bagel and coffee and share watching CNBC’s Morning Call. Although there are days I prefer to stay at home some mornings, there is nothing that gets you to campus better than a great hour or so of fun conversation with your students. A new, big flat screen digital television is at our beck and call.
On this day last week Norfolk Southern’s stock price was being beaten with an approximate eight percent loss. Guidance had just been disseminated projecting car loadings will be down. I was trying to carry a conversation with my young friends while keeping the television in sight.
Now, there is no reason to panic here. A great friend and investment advisor of my past always told me that no one ever made a dime by panicking. However, I must respect past history and watch for a continued degradation of car loadings and resulting loss of stock value. Perhaps it may soon be time to reduce my rail holdings.
Perhaps it is time to start listening better to my colleagues.