Morgan Stanley Research North America reports that its proprietary Truckload Freight Index continued to trend with historical levels and "is no longer deteriorating on a sequential basis." Anecdotally, the analysts report, shippers say capacity is plentiful but "carriers are still very aggressive on pricing as they hunt for loads in the market." If shippers' expectations are correct, says Morgan Stanley, it sees sustained weakness in freight demand through the balance of the year.
Consumer spending may also be affected by the turmoil in credit markets resulting from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. This additional pressure on consumer spending could compound the effect of a sluggish economy and already weak freight demand, the analysts report.