Transportation Winners: CSX, Southwest

Transportation stocks gain ground, with the railroads pacing the advancers and airline stocks mixed.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shippers of commodities and commercial goods were among the winners in the transportation sector Monday as prices for commodities themselves strengthened on a weaker U.S. dollar.

Shares of railroad companies, responsible for hauling the nation's coal, gained ground Monday. Late in the session,

CSX

(CSX) - Get Report

was gaining 1.2% to $51.61;

Norfolk Southern

(NSC) - Get Report

was advancing nearly 2% to $55.86; and

Union Pacific

(UNP) - Get Report

was up 1.4% to $73.68.

Overall, the Dow Jones Transportation Average was rising 0.8% to $35.38 Monday afternoon, while the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up about 0.4%, about 100 points shy of the 11,000 level.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Transportation Department released its 2009 air travel figures, which showed 5.3% fewer people flew to and fro on airliners last year than in 2008. The numbers appeared to ratify the obvious: the recession caused a drop in travel.

Beating out all other domestic carriers for the third year in a row was

Southwest Airlines

(LUV) - Get Report

. Shares of the Dallas-based company were trading recently at $13.16, up 0.8%.

Shares of

AMR

(AMR)

, parent of American Airlines, which handled the most international traffic of any U.S.-based carrier, were at $9.12, down 0.7%.

Delta

(DAL) - Get Report

was gaining 0.7% to $14.60, and JetBlue Airways was slipping by 0.4% to $5.50.

Business freight giants

FedEx

(FDX) - Get Report

and

UPS

(UPS) - Get Report

saw their stocks rise as well, the former gaining 0.8% to $92.10 and the latter advancing 0.7% to $64.13.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.