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Transports, on a tear, could be flashing the all-clear sign for stocks

VIDEO3:0403:04
Are transport stocks flashing an all-clear sign for stocks?

Transport stocks surged Friday, tracking for their longest weekly winning streak of the year.

Transports' bullish behavior is bullish for the market, said Chris Verrone, head of technical analysis at Strategas Research Partners.

"In what has been an otherwise challenging market, the transports are still leaders here," Verrone said Thursday on CNBC's "Trading Nation. "

He cited the group's ability to hold its 200-day moving average this year even when the broader market has faltered. Indeed, the Dow transport index hasn't breached its 200-day moving average to the downside since August.

Transport stocks are traditionally seen as an indicator of broader economic health, given transportation companies' wide usage across industries.

"Truckers strong, rails strong; I think that speaks to a pretty healthy backdrop here," Verrone said, adding that he specifically likes J.B. Hunt and Union Pacific, which have rallied a respective 12.5 percent and 10 percent in 2018.

Other market watchers are more cautious on the transports given international trade tensions coming to a boil, and the potential impact on U.S. companies particularly exposed to trade with countries in the crosshairs of tariff talk.

"If you look at what has driven the rally for the last 12 months, it has been a strong global trade story. That would naturally benefit trucks, rails and airlines," Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global, said on "Trading Nation."

"We've seen an uptick in terms of global trade volumes; it has been going up for the last 12 months, but that's starting to wane. The concern we have is really around this aggravated talk regarding tariffs and a continued potential trade war," Sanchez said.