By John Canally, CFA Chief Economic Strategist, LPL Financial
Weekly Economic Commentary, March 23, 2015
Without question, the key event for financial markets last week (March 16 – 20, 2015) was the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to remove the word “patient” from its policy statement, putting market participants on watch for a rate hike later this year. But, as always, the devil is in the details. While the Fed’s policymaking arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), signaled last week that it is ready to raise rates when members are “reasonably confident” that inflation will move back toward its 2.0% target, FOMC members substantially lowered their forecast for the level of the fed funds rate over the next several years. In addition, the FOMC lowered its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) growth and inflation over the next few years. On balance, the outcome of the meeting confirmed our long-held view that the Fed would keep rates “lower for longer.” Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s post-FOMC meeting press conference confirmed the “lower for longer” theme, reminding viewers around the world that although the FOMC removed “patient,” it did not mean that the FOMC was going to raise rates at the next FOMC meeting in April. Yellen also stressed that a rate hike was not a sure thing and remained “data dependent,” i.e., they would need to see the labor market continuing to improve, inflation stabilizing, and inflation expectations moving higher for the period ahead.
We will continue to watch what the Fed is monitoring (the labor market, inflation, and inflation expectations) and will provide updates on the progress of these key metrics as needed. We provided an in-depth look at what the Fed is watching on the inflation side in last week’s (March 16, 2015) Weekly Economic Commentary, “FOMC Preview: When, How Often, and How Much.” The minutes of last week’s FOMC meeting will be released in mid-April and the next FOMC meeting is April 28 – 29, 2015.
LOOKING AHEAD WITH THE LEI
A report that may have been overlooked by financial market participants last week was the Conference Board’s monthly Leading Economic… Read the Full Report here: Economic Commentary 03232015
By Burt White Chief Investment Officer, LPL Financial
David Tonaszuck, CMT Technical Strategist, LPL Financial
Weekly Market Commentary
In technical analysis, “intermarket analysis” looks at the way in which various markets interact. Intermarket analysis primarily looks at four market sectors: currencies, commodities, bonds, and stocks. From a technical analyst’s perspective, focusing our attention on only one market without considering what’s happening in the others leaves us in danger of missing vital directional clues and potential profits.
The dollar, which has appreciated 24.4% since June 30, 2014 (as of March 19, 2015), has had an unusually strong intermarket effect of late. Today, we look at the dollar’s recent impact on other major markets and what it means for investors from a technical perspective. Since June 2014, a strong U.S. dollar has created a tailwind for European equities, while creating headwinds for the euro and commodities, especially crude oil, as well as equity markets for commodity-exporting emerging market countries such as Brazil. (To read about the dollar’s impact on domestic equity markets, see the March 16, 2015, Weekly Market Commentary, “Dollar Strength Is a Symptom Not a Cause.”)
CURRENCY RIPPLE EFFECTS
The strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar, as measured by the U.S. Dollar Index, is determined by the dollar’s value against a basket of major world currencies. As of March 19, 2015, the euro made up 57.6% of the U.S. Dollar Index. A strong dollar, therefore, generally corresponds to a weak euro. Technically, the U.S. Dollar Index has been operating in a bullish price trend, as represented by a positively sloping 40-week simple moving average [Figure 1, page 2]. The magnitude of its price move higher since July 2014 may be considered substantial, reflected by a weekly 14-period relative strength index (RSI ) value of 74 [Figure 2, page 2]. The RSI (14) is a technical momentum indicator that compares the magnitude of gains to losses over the last 14 trading periods. For the RSI (14), any reading above 70 is considered a strong, possibly overbought, uptrend; any reading below 30 is considered a strong, possibly oversold, downtrend. Conversely, related weakness in the price of a euro in dollars (EUR-USD) has….Get the Full Market Report Here: Market Commentary 03232015
Economic headlines this month announced that the rejuvenation of the United States manufacturing sector is on the skids. But is manufacturing declining, or is this merely a blip on the radar?
According to the latest research by the Institute for Supply Management, factory activity in February fell from 53.5 in January to 52.9 — its lowest point since January 2014, a 13-month low.However, any index number above 50 is an indicator of an expanding manufacturing sector.
In a recent column in Industry Week, Chad Moutray cites a number of reasons for the February drop, including:
Lower energy costs
Actually, this is a two-edged sword. Manufacturers who use petroleum products in their manufacturing process, especially consumer goods, actually gain from lower oil prices. But manufacturers of large and expensive earth drilling and moving equipment predict slower growth as do producers of energy-related products, such as pipelines.
Based on a December survey conducted by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), manufacturing is expected to grow 3.4 percent in 2015. The original estimate in November was for 3.8 percent growth. The reason for this lower estimate is based on a projected price of $63.50 per barrel instead of the $80 used in the November projections. The price of oil currently sits below $50 per barrel.
Nevertheless, Don Miller, MAPI’s director of economic studies, said, “I’m dubious whether oil prices will remain extremely low for the entire year. I expect some bounce back.”
Sluggish growth in overseas markets
When the U.S. dollar is strong, exports are more expensive, and sales overseas slow. The big reason the dollar has gained against other currencies abroad is that the pace of recovery from the global recession for those continues to lag behind that of the U.S.
Struggling economies cannot afford many U.S. exports, especially those targeted toward consumers.
Port labor strike on West Coast
First a slowdown, then a strike and finally a contract. During the slowdown and strike, manufacturers from automakers to toy manufacturers slowed or temporarily closed production lines due to lack of parts that were sitting on ships waiting to have containers offloaded.
The strike, which began in 2014, ended Feb. 20, and things are finally getting back to normal. However, the agreement is tentative until the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association (ILWU) votes on the five-year contract.
The United States has endured a brutal winter, which has had a negative effect on the economy as a whole. And weather is increasingly becoming a factor in doing business.
“Large weather disasters, or weather events causing more than $1 billion in damages, are becoming more frequent,” according to the United States Environmental Agency (EPA). “The country experienced 20 weather disasters in the 1980s, 47 in the 1990s, and 48 in the 2000s; but in the just the past four years, 36 weather disasters occurred more than double the pace of the two previous decades.”
What does the future hold?
According to a report distributed by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy is still poised for growth.
Starting in 2012, BCG began tracking companies that are reshoring (ceasing overseas manufacturing and bringing the work back to the United States). Until now, BCG says somewhere between 300 to 400 have reshored “at least part of their operations.” Since 2003, the number of companies starting new offshore operations has declined by 70 percent. During the same period, reshoring has climbed by 1,500 percent.
“It’s never a good idea to make hasty assumptions,” according to Indramat Products. “One ‘slow’ month of manufacturing doesn’t necessarily say anything about its future. After all, the manufacturing sector still grew, just not as much as people were hoping for. January marked the 27th consecutive month of growth for manufacturing. It would be a reach to say that manufacturing is slowing down because it has grown for 27 months straight.”
That said, predicting the future of manufacturing is not a precise task. Weather, work stoppages, supply chain disruptions and many more factors influence U.S. manufacturing.
Nevertheless, if — and that it is a big if — oil prices stabilize, there is no labor strife in the supply chain, the weather becomes moderate, and overseas economies grow, then 2015 could be a banner year. But it is unlikely that the world will ever be perfect, and manufacturing remains a global process.
The question is: Do you think the glass is half-full or half-empty?
About the Author
Alan Kelsky is a freelance writer with a master’s degree in business administration from Xavier University with a specialty in healthcare management. Alan was formerly a hospital CEO with an active emergency room and was the CEO of an urgent care center in Pompano, Florida. He is also formerly the owner of Electric Control Services. His company worked with manufacturers and commercial building owners by offering energy audits, energy efficiency technology sales, installation and follow-up monitoring.
In high school and adolescent years in his small hometown of Sandusky Michigan he was better known as “Brew Ha,” “Bangin Bear” and “Kiss of Death.” If you dare to be so bold, you’d challenge him for his title of “fastest pin in wrestling” which was a record 5 seconds time. Kevin Brewster, President and founder of On Target Machine Brokers, LLC located in Watertown, Connecticut has been a member of the Machinery Dealers National Association (MDNA) since September of 2013.
Don’t let this competitive, all-star sports jock, machinery dealing, outdoorsman hunting, fishing, camper, Young Gun fool you. Underneath the towering 6”2 build is an easygoing softer guy. A family man who reminisces with wife Julie saying
“Our favorite memories are camping trips with the kids when they were younger and telling them the old spooky urban legends of Hookman before bedtime near the campfire.”
Kevin and Julie have a lot of mouths to feed with four children, Kenny 26, Rachel 23, Brandon 19, Alexandria (AKA Pip) 16, plus a daughter in law Alyssa 26, granddaughter Amelia 9 months, their chocolate lab Mongo and in Kevin’s words “One stupid cat named Lady.”
Kevin started out in this industry as what dealers refer to as the “end user” opening his first shop at the age of 25 in Michigan (KC Machining Inc.). He was known for Wire EDM specialties in 4TH axis and was published with Mitsubishi for discovering new process to wire components. His background includes Wire EDM, Die Sink EDM, Engineering, and Project Management in the tool and die, Plastic extrusion tool and Plastic Mold making.
After relocating to Connecticut nearly 14 years ago to work and apply his skills in Medical Device Manufacturing Kevin decided he would break off on his own again. Kevin founded On Target Machine Brokers, LLC three and a half years ago and he says
“I had worked in manufacturing equipment sales for several years, but did not respect the dishonest methods I was exposed to. I knew that I had something to offer to this industry and decided to go on my own and build a company I could be proud of.”
“I started my career with precision metal fabrication and I have a vast knowledge of how the equipment works. Due to this knowledge OTMB can offer our expertise and experience to ‘Target’ the right equipment for our customers. This and our customer service is what makes our team gain our customers’ trust and keep it. Our core values are to ensure our customers are profitable with their new equipment and ensuring that they have the best experience possible.”
Troy’s business, Clark Machinery Sales, LLC, is located in a town called Hunt Valley, Maryland, which is approximately three hours south of New York and just over an hour north of Washington, D.C.
He’s known to be an early bird, often on the green squeezing in the back 9 before most of us have even had coffee. Troy says, “It’s my favorite way to start the work day.” Golfing isn’t the only sport to get this Marylanders adrenaline pumping, he exclaims..
“I enjoy few things more than downhill skiing…. and football are you kidding? Go Ravens!”
However, Troy’s not the only controller of the remote and his greatest joy is sharing his life with wife Helen of over 14 years and their two lovely, creative daughters, Amelia (10) and Lily (8). Helen and Troy are both cinephile’s and can’t say enough great things about this year’s “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
In 1997, shortly after moving to Chicago, Troy began working in the used machinery industry. Troy’s father was working a machine cell at the very time Troy started dialing companies from the D&B book in Chicago. It was through a series of life events and various careers that Troy says
“I found myself face to face with the decision to leap into the free-fall that is business ownership.” He founded Clark Machinery in January of 2005. Troy exclaims, “Each year since then it has been a great adventure in the Wild-Wild West of machinery dealing!”
Clark Machinery Sales, LLC, specializes in buying and selling metalworking machinery nationwide. The company’s focus areas are: CNC Swiss, Haas Machinery, multi-axis lathes and machining centers. Troy says they succeed because “we are passionate about process, believing that structure and clarity protect both the buyer and the seller.” Troy started out as a broker, but has since moved into buying for inventory and holding auctions. He is also a proud member of the Association of Machinery and Equipment Appraisers (AMEA).
Troy is an active member of Machinery Dealers National Association and is currently the Chair for the MDNA Philadelphia Chapter.
“We own inventory with MDNA dealers across the country and enjoy working with our fellow MDNA dealers whom we consider to be some of the best individuals in the industry!”- Troy Clark
There are many new and younger faces throughout our MDNA membership. This new sponsorship program aims to introduce the new faces of these companies as well as introduce key people at new MDNA member firms.
If you are interested in this incredible “Young Guns” sponsorship opportunity please reach out to the MDNA office. Stay tuned as we introduce you to the new breed of MDNA members and future leaders of the industry at this year’s Convention and throughout the coming year.
For Young Guns you may have missed go the the NEWSROOM drop-down menu above.
There are many new and younger faces throughout our MDNA membership. This new marketing program aims to introduce the new faces of these companies as well as introduce key people at new MDNA member firms.
If you are interested in this incredible “Young Guns” marketing opportunity please reach out to the MDNA office.
Stay tuned as we continue to introduce you to the new breed of MDNA members and future leaders of the industry throughout the coming year.
*For Young Guns you may have missed select the links below!
By Burt White Chief Investment Officer, LPL Financial Jeff Buchbinder, CFA Market Strategist, LPL Financial
Weekly Market Commentary
The Nasdaq Composite just hit 5000 today as this report was going to press and is nearing its all-time record closing high of 5048 set during the peak of the internet bubble in March 2000. The 15-year journey back to these highs after the bubble burst included two recessions along the way — one of them “Great.” This accomplishment has sparked renewed concerns that the Nasdaq’s ascent reflects a stock market bubble that may soon burst. Even with the Nasdaq at 5000, based on valuation and sentiment measures, we do not believe stocks have reached bubble territory. As we walk down memory lane to the days when we got stock picks from cab drivers and chat rooms, we see that the Nasdaq’s foundation is much stronger today.
To assess whether the Nasdaq reflects excessive speculation that has historically characterized bubbles, we look at several measures of valuation and sentiment. A comparison between where these measures stand today and their levels back in 2000 reveals that the environment then was very different. This comparison enhances our comfort with our positive stock market view, based on our investment process incorporating fundamentals, valuations, and technical analysis.
See our infographic, A Very Different Nasdaq,
for more comparison of 2000 and 2015.
By John Canally Chief Economic Strategist, LPL Financial
THE MISERY INDEX: JUNE 1980
In June 1980, the U.S. economy was just exiting the first of two back-to-back recessions. The June 2, 1980, cover of TIME magazine was “The Big Blowup,” referring not to the awful state of the U.S. economy, but to the recent eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. The Business and Economy section of the magazine that month, however, was full of stories about just how bad the U.S. economy was:
June 9, 1980, “Consumers Feel the Pinch”: “With the economy in a downward spiral of still uncertain depth, many consumers have decided to cut their losses. …More Americans are unemployed, many others are doing without overtime pay, and inflation has eroded earnings.”
June 16, 1980, “The Bad News Gets Worse”: “…not only has the next recession begun, but it is already shaping up to be one of the worst slumps since the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
June 30, 1980, “Harder Times in the U.S.”: “While the Europeans generally hope to suffer only a mild slowing of economic growth, U.S. business continues to reel downward.”
The unemployment rate hit 7.6% in June 1980 and the inflation rate (as measured by the year-over-year percent change in the consumer price index [CPI]) soared to an incredible 14.4%, pushing the Misery Index (year-over-year percent change in CPI plus the unemployment rate) to 22.0% [Figure 1]. In retrospect, the 14.4% reading on the CPI in June 1980 marked the high point for inflation in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Unfortunately, for the U.S. economy, the next recession (the one that would begin in mid-1981 and last through the end of 1982) would ultimately drive the unemployment rate to 10.8%. The economy in the early 1980s was truly miserable, matching the nation’s mood.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Machinery Dealers National Association recognizes the MDNA Chicago Chapter for their generous contribution of $5,000 to this year’s upcoming 74th Annual Convention & Business Meeting in Washington, D.C.
John Conroy, Chairman – MDNA Convention Committee says, “I cannot tell you how much my entire Convention Committee and I appreciate the generosity of the Chicago Chapter. As the costs of putting on this Convention escalate every year, we have been successful in having only one minor increase in our Convention Registration Fee in the last 15 years thanks to the generosity of sponsors like the Chicago Chapter. It is our goal to make the Convention affordable to all members of our Association while at the same time making each one a smash hit. Please extend my thanks and the thanks of my entire committee to all of the members of the Chicago Chapter.”
The Chicago Chapter has stepped up countless times in support of the MDNA. This sponsorship money will go towards making this Convention more affordable for all members of this Association. MDNA hopes that by recognizing this chapter it provides a visible acknowledgement of the importance that their contributions have made on our Association and its members.
The MDNA thanks the Chicago Chapter for their support—your generosity is inspiring.
How Can Others Participate in Convention Sponsorship?
Your company’s donation or your chapter’s donation will improve the quality of our event by making it possible to continue to keep the registration fees low while still delivering great social, business, educational and networking activities at the MDNA Convention.
To support the MDNA Convention as a Sponsor please contact the MDNA National office or Convention Committee Member, Jean Harris.
About the MDNA Convention: MDNA’s 74TH Annual Convention & Business Meeting is scheduled to take place on April 23rd- 26th, 2015 at The Historic Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC, Hotel. The MDNA Convention is open to MDNA members, MDNA Premier Vendors, sponsors – and invited guests who have not attended an MDNA function in the last five years. LEARN MORE ABOUT CONVENTION HERE
A west coast family man, President of Wheeler Machinery Sales, and walker to a furry dog named Elvis, Dan is a car loving, motorcycle riding, boar & bird hunting, football & little league coaching, father of 3 ranging in age from 3 to 11 and reports daily to the lovely Mrs. Gina Wheeler.
Mr. Wheeler is undoubtedly someone to keep an eye on with 20 years’ experience in machinery sales already and he’s got plenty of years ahead being just 40 years young.
His talents advanced at a young age while obtaining his BS in Engineering from California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo. Dan is also an AMEA Certified Equipment Appraiser and (ASA) American Society of Appraisers certified.
Dan came into the family business in the mid 90’s to help his dad out. Eventually he became a full-time salesman, selling a wide variety of machines ranging from fabrication to general machine tools. At his dad’s passing in January 2012, he purchased the company from his mom and sister. He is a third generation machinery dealer.
“Many years ago I asked my grandfather what led him into getting involved in the business and he said he met Milton himself on Pacific Blvd in Los Angeles and he use to polish his shoes.”
His grandfather got his start as a set-up man for Milton Wershaw Auctioneers – based out of Los Angeles, CA. He was 16 years old at the time. His grandfather eventually broke away and started Wheeler Machinery Co. on San Pedro St. in Los Angeles. Dan’s father worked for his grandfather, but would eventually go on his own, hence the name Wheeler Machinery Sales.
Wheeler Machinery Sales, founded by Dan’s father Crist Wheeler, opened its doors in 1969. For many years they were located on Santa Fe Ave. (Machinery Row) in Los Angeles, CA. Recently, their business moved into a newer more modern structure in Pomona, CA, approximately the same size as their facility in Los Angeles.
Dan says “We concentrate mostly on Fabrication Equipment and General Machine Tools, from small to very large.
“Our staff holds a lot of experience with the low man on the totem pole having minimum 10 years’ experience. We employ 4 full time staff members and we all participate in sales and repair. We have a great reputation and concentrate on quality and customer service.”
Dan is an active member within Machinery Dealers National Association and is passionate about the success and development of the used metalworking and capital equipment industry.
If you are interested in this incredible “Young Guns” sponsorship opportunity, please reach out to the MDNA office - and stay tuned as we introduce you to the new breed of MDNA members and future leaders of the industry – at this year’s Convention and throughout the coming year.