As transports stall, technician says this stock could get hit hard

Transports stocks are hitting the skids.

The IYT transportation index, which holds names including CSX and United Continental, is down more than 3 percent so far this week, tracking for its worst since December. The XTN S&P transportation index has dropped an even sharper 5 percent.

Weakness in the group has caused some technical damage to its charts, said Todd Gordon, founder of TradingAnalysis.com.

“We’ve begun to roll over, begun to fail here at these old highs, starting to back away,” Gordon said Thursday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “There’s a common theme that we’re seeing in the market here between a lot of different indexes and sectors which is potentially a head and shoulders reversal pattern.”

Such a pattern is a typically bearish signal which suggests the end of an uptrend. The XTN ETF formed a left shoulder in early 2018, a head in August, and a right shoulder in December and February.

There’s one transports name that looks especially weak to Gordon: FedEx.

“This chart is obviously more in a stronger downtrend than what we saw in the transports,” he said. “We have a case of a sector that is underperforming the index and a stock that is underperforming the underperforming sector.”

To take advantage of expected weakness in FedEx, Gordon is betting on downside heading into earnings on March 19. The options marketing is pointing to an $11 drop from current levels following earnings, implying a 6 percent decline.

“I want to go ahead and buy the put that is down around that expected move,” he said.

Gordon is buying the March 22 160/155 put spread for around 67 cents. This is a bearish bet that FedEx will drop to $155 before the contract expiration.

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