NEW YORK, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Transportation stocks were higher on Thursday, bucking the trend of the general market and edging back near record levels.
The strength in the group is a bullish indicator, as it is often viewed as a proxy for economic activity. The Dow Jones Transportation Average was up 0.2 percent on the day, moving within 0.7 percent of a record close hit Sept. 5. It is up 15.4 percent thus far in 2014.
The transports sector found support at its 14-day moving average on Thursday, a sign of positive near-term momentum. While the S&P 500 was on track for its third straight close below its own 14-day moving average, transports haven't closed under the key technical level since Aug. 12.
Correlation is high between the S&P and the transport index, currently 0.95, according to Thomson Reuters data. (Perfect correlation is 1.0.) While correlation has weakened since Sept. 3, when it was 0.97, it is up significantly from a recent low of 0.76 hit on July 31.
Among specific components, barge operator Kirby Corp was up 1.1 percent at $123.03 while FedEx Corp was up 1 percent at $152.27.
Index snapshot at 13:58 EDT:
* S&P 500 was falling 5.15 points, or 0.26 percent.
* Nasdaq Comp was losing 24.03 points, or 0.52 percent.
* Dow industrials was dropping 53.36 points, or 0.31 percent.
* Russell 2000 was adding 0.37 points, or 0.03 percent.
* S&P MidCap was adding 1.6 points, or 0.11 percent.
* S&P SmallCap was gaining 1.02 points, or 0.15 percent. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)