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May 15, 2012 at 13:24 PM EDT
European Disease Infecting U.S. Manufacturing
The latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey, produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, indicates a pickup in May manufacturing activity on the surface. Closer inspection always adds color, and in this case, we believe reflects growing concern about the outlook. It also shows a bifurcation developing within the sector, as mixed messages are delivered about the trend of business. We believe the report intimates infection from European markets reaching relative U.S. exporters. Given the data we’ve reported on around the industrial sector and manufacturing and international trade, and based on what we see developing globally, we view the headline improvement as just a blip in a trending dip.
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.
Relative tickers include the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA), Industrial Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLI), BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP), Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE), Alcoa (NYSE: AA), General Electric (NYSE: GE), Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) and UPS (NYSE: UPS).
Europe Infecting U.S. The market celebrated Tuesday morning’s early release of the Empire State Manufacturing Survey because of the headline index increase. The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA) rose to start the day, before other considerations (read Greece) weighed. The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLI) traded choppy, though higher. Major industrial names including General Electric (NYSE: GE), Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), UPS (NYSE: UPS) and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) were each convincingly in the green. The NY Fed’s measure of area business showed its General Business Conditions Index gained to a mark of 17.09, up from 6.56 in April. Bloomberg’s survey of economists pegged the increase at a lesser level of 10.0 based on past performance and other indicators that reflected an uncertain direction.
The sub-index measuring new orders, which is a tangible indicator of how the business environment might be developing, inched higher to 8.3, from 6.5 in April. Shipments, however, were significantly higher, with the component measure rising to 24.1, from 6.4. Price increase has been contributing to gains here and likely continued to do so in May. That said, the indexes measuring both prices paid and received showed some moderation of the increases.
While the data showed overall gain, closer inspection shed light on a sort of bifurcated manufacturing environment. Something is developing, as the gain hid the fact that while many businesses reported improved activity, there was a similar increase in the number of manufacturers reporting less business activity. Even as 40.5% of those surveyed reported better business conditions, a gain over April’s 27.9%, 23.4% reported deteriorated business, versus 21.3% in April. Worse yet, 31.6% of those surveyed saw decreased new ordering activity, versus the 22.7% that said the same in April. That contrasted with the May gain in those who saw improved new ordering, where 39.9% saw improvement versus the 29.2% that said so in April.
The weird changes were fueled by decreasing numbers of managers reporting no change. The divergence of data may be reflective of specific markets served by manufacturers. Perhaps those serving Europe to a greater extent are now seeing decreased business. The latest International Trade Report reflected a wider trade deficit between the U.S. and Europe, which we intimated could be due to decreased European demand for U.S. goods and services. Of course, we now know that Spain is in recession as Greece falls into depression. Trouble seems to be spreading as an ill-timed austerity movement is implemented too aggressively across the euro region.
The NY Fed’s report also showed a perception among manufacturing managers that business conditions might deteriorate over the next six months. The forward looking indicators for General Business Conditions, New Orders, Shipments and Employment all decreased in value. Also, expectations for capital expenditures and technology spending declined. This all portends trouble, as the expert ear on the rail is feeling a bad vibe coming. Ironically, given the expected business slowdown, price increases are seen by manufacturing managers. I see inflation coming too, but I believe it will be selective and dynamic, and will follow nearer term deflation in industrial commodity prices. As a result, I’m not a fan of names like BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP), Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) over the short-term, though I believe scarcity, global demand and a breakdown of global trade, combined with fiat currency devaluation, will eventually drive the price of all materials and goods much higher.
This article should interest investors in Boeing (NYSE: BA), Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), Digital Globe (NYSE: DGI), GenCorp (NYSE: GY), General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), Goodrich (NYSE: GR), Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), Honeywell (NYSE: HON), Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL), L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL), EMBRAER (NYSE: ERJ), FLIR Systems (Nasdaq: FLIR), BE Aerospace (Nasdaq: BEAV), TransDigm (NYSE: TDG), Spirit Aerosystems (NYSE: SPR), CAE (NYSE: CAE), Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK), Hexcel (NYSE: HXL), Triumph Group (NYSE: TGI), Esterline Technologies (NYSE: ESL), Moog (NYSE: MOG-A), Heico (NYSE: HEI), Teledyne (NYSE: TDY), Curtiss-Wright (NYSE: CW), Cavco (Nasdaq: CVCO), Skyline (NYSE: SKY), Mohawk Industries (NYSE: MHK), Interface (Nasdaq: IFSIA), Albany International (NYSE: AIN), Unifi (NYSE: UFI), Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW), Tyco International (NYSE: TYC), Cummins (NYSE: CMI), Kubota (NYSE: KUB), Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE: IR), Dover (NYSE: DOV), ITT Corp. (NYSE: ITT), Flowserve (NYSE: FLS), Pall (NYSE: PLL), Dresser-Rand (NYSE: DRC), SPX (NYSE: SPW), Gardner Denver (NYSE: GDI), IDEX (NYSE: IEX), Nordson (Nasdaq: NDSN), Graco (NYSE: GGG), Actuant (NYSE: ATU), Middleby (Nasdaq: MIDD), ABB (NYSE: ABB), Eaton (NYSE: ETN), Nidec (NYSE: NJ), Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK), Ametek (NYSE: AME), Regal Beloit (NYSE: RBC), Thomas & Betts (NYSE: TMB), Woodward Governor (Nasdaq: WGOV), Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), Deere (NYSE: DE), CNH (NYSE: CNH), Joy Global (Nasdaq: JOYG), Bucyrus (Nasdaq: BUCY), Agco (Nasdaq: AGCO), Emerson Electric (NYSE: EMR), Parker Hannifin (NYSE: PH), Roper Industries (NYSE: ROP), Pentair (NYSE: PNR), Waste Management (NYSE: WM), Republic Services (NYSE: RSG), Fastenal (Nasdaq: FAST), Vulcan Materials (NYSE: VMC), MDU Resources (NYSE: MDU), Martin Marietta Materials (NYSE: MLM), Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), Valspar (NYSE: VAL), Precision Castparts (NYSE: PCP), United States Steel (NYSE: X), Reliance Steel (NYSE: RS), CRH (NYSE: CRH), CEMEX (NYSE: CX), Eagle Materials (NYSE: EXP), Fluor (NYSE: FLR), McDermott International (NYSE: MDR), Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT), Empresas ICA (NYSE: ICA), Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK), Timken (NYSE: TKR), Kennametal (NYSE: KMT), Leucadia National (NYSE: LUK), Masco (NYSE: MAS), Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY), Quanta Services (NYSE: PWR), Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE: CBI), EMCOR (NYSE: EME), Snap-on (NYSE: SNA), Toro (NYSE: TTC), GM (NYSE: GM) and Ford (NYSE: F).
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ABB LTD. ACTUANT CORPORATION ALBANY INTERNATIONAL ALLIANT TECHSYSTEMS, Inc. Alcoa Inc Ametek BE Aerospace, Inc. BHP BILLITON LIMITED Boeing Company CAE, Inc. CEMEX S.A.B. DE C.V. CHICAGO BRIDGE & IRON CO. CNH Global N.V. CRH PUBLIC LIMITED COMPANY CURTISS-WRIGHT CORP. Caterpillar Inc. Cavco Industries, Inc. Cummins Inc. DIGITALGLOBE, Inc. DRESSER-RAND GROUP, Inc. Deere & Company Dover Corp. EAGLE MATERIALS, Inc. EMBRAER S.A. EMCOR GROUP, Inc. EMPRESAS ICA, S.A. DE C.V. ESTERLINE TECHNOLOGIES Emerson Electric FLIR Systems Fastenal Co Flowserve Corporation Fluor Corp. Ford Motor Foster Wheeler AG GENCORP, Inc. GRACO, Inc. Gardner Denver, Inc. General Dynamics General Electric General Motors HEICO CORPORATION HEXCEL CORPORATION Honeywell Int'l Inc. IDEX CORPORATION INDUSTRIAL SEL SECT SPDR FD INTERFACE ITT CORPORATION Illinois Tool Works Ingersoll-Rand PLC KENNAMETAL, Inc. Kubota Corp. ADS L-3 Communications Holdings Leucadia National Corp. Lockheed Martin Corp. MARTIN MARIETTA MATERIALS MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL MDU RESOURCES GROUP, Inc. MOOG, Inc. Masco Corp. Middleby Corp Mohawk Industries NIDEC CORP ADR Nordson Corp Northrop Grumman Corp. OWENS CORNING Pall Corp. Parker-Hannifin Precision Castparts Quanta Services Inc. REGAL-BELOIT CORPORATION RELIANCE STEEL & ALUMINUM CO. Raytheon Co. Republic Services Inc Rockwell Automation Inc. Rockwell Collins Roper Industries SKYLINE CORPORATION SPDR DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE ETF TRUST SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS HOLDINGS, Inc. SPX CORPORATION Snap-On Inc. Stanley Black & Decker, Inc TELEDYNE TECH, Inc. THE TIMKEN COMPANY TORO COMPANY TRANSDIGM GROUP INCORPORATED TRIUMPH GROUP, Inc. Tyco International UNIFI, INC. NEW United Parcel Service United States Steel Corp. United Technologies VALE S.A. VALSPAR CORPORATION Vulcan Materials Waste Management Inc. Weyerhaeuser Corp.
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