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This stock is sliding ahead of its earnings report

CSX reports earnings after Tuesday's bell, but shares of the rail transport company are already dropping.

The stock opened nearly 4 percent lower on Tuesday, after fellow transport company Norfolk Southern warned investors about first-quarter profits and revenue. Norfolk Southern complained of lower volume, particularly due to its exposure to coal.

Shares of CSX rebounded significantly from the lows through Tuesday's trading. But both CSX and Norfolk Southern are down 9 percent this year.

So does the Norfolk Southern warning point to bad earnings numbers ahead from CSX?

David Vernon, who covers both stocks for Sanford Bernstein, says that while "there are some obvious fundamental read-throughs across, in terms of volume weakness, there are also some peculiarities to Norfolk that make it more company-specific, so it's not as directly a negative read-across."

Vernon is a bit down on the whole sector, writing a recent note that "Rail volumes for 1Q:15 are off to a slow start, and as a result rail stocks have been weak relative to the broader market."

The analyst rates CSX as "market perform" with a target of $36.

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A CSX train at the Norfolk Southern Bellevue Terminal in Bellevue, Ohio.
Justin Solomon | CNBC
A CSX train at the Norfolk Southern Bellevue Terminal in Bellevue, Ohio.

Technician Ari Wald of Oppenheimer agrees that CSX shares look neutral at best.

"It's too late to sell, with the stock already down 14 percent over the last five months, and coming into support in the $31 to $32 range," Wald said.

"However, the price needs to stabilize and momentum is moderating, so I'm staying away for now," he added.

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