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Important index bottoms, giving bulls 'all clear'

A UPS worker delivers packages in Chicago, Dec. 26, 2013.
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A UPS worker delivers packages in Chicago, Dec. 26, 2013.

One discouraging sign in what has thus far been a pretty lackluster 2015 in the U.S. stock market has been the poor performance by the Dow Jones transportation average, which is down 5 percent for the year compared to a 1 percent gain by its cousin, the Dow Jones industrial average.

This relative weakness in the transports, which many investors view as an economic barometer, warns of slowing activity that could eventually have a broader adverse effect on U.S. equity prices.