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This high-flying index is signaling that the stock market and the U.S. economy are just fine

Stock market bulls got some unexpected good news on Thursday.

It wasn’t that the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.03%  is at a record level.

It’s that the Freight Transportation Services Index hit a new high.

Freight Transportation Services? Few investors pay attention to the data-release schedule for this index, much less even know about it. But its status as a leading economic indicator rests on a strong statistical foundation.

The Freight Transportation Services Index measures the volume of the movement of freight by U.S. transportation companies. It is calculated by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics within the U.S. Department of Transportation. The index is updated monthly, and the most recent figure, reflecting data for May 2018, was released Thursday morning; the index registered its third new high in the past four months, and is up 6.4 percent% over the trailing 12 months.

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