by Jordan, Knauff & Company

The Jordan, Knauff & Company (JKC) Valve Stock Index was down 1.8 percent over the last 12 months, below the broader S&P 500 Index which was up 5.7 percent. The JKC Pump Stock Index was down 18.8 percent for the same time period.

Manufacturing continued its growth in March. The Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 53.4 percent, increasing 1 percent over February. Key drivers of the gain included a 3.0 percent jump in production and a 2.9 percent increase in employment.  

Figure 1. Stock indices from April 1, 2011 to March 30, 2012

According to the latest JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI survey, the global manufacturing sector posted further modest expansions in production, new orders and employment at the end of the first quarter. However, input cost inflationary pressure continued to surge upwards.

U.S. light vehicle sales hit a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 14.4 million in March. Many vehicles manufacturers reported increases, and Chrysler Group LLC posted a 34 percent gain over last year. 

With gains in many sectors, 120,000 jobs were added in March. Retail trade and temporary-help declines led to the smaller-than-expected gain. Manufacturing employment rose 37,000, nearly one-third of the private sector increase. 

Figure 2. U.S. Energy Consumption and Rig Counts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts non-OPEC crude oil and liquid fuels production to rise by 850,000 barrels per day (BPD) in 2012 and by 840,000 BPD in 2013. The largest non-OPEC growth will be North America, where production is expected to increase by 560,000 BPD in 2012 and 180,000 BPD in 2013, resulting from production growth from U.S. onshore shale and other tight oil formations and Canadian oil sands. Production is also expected to rise in Kazakhstan, Brazil, China and Colombia during 2012 and 2013, with declines in Russia, Mexico and the North Sea. 

On Wall Street, due to a strengthening global economy and signs of easing in Europe’s debt problems, U.S. stocks had their strongest first quarter in more than 10 years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the quarter up 8.1 percent, with a record 994-point advance, its largest quarterly gain. The Dow has posted gains for six consecutive months. The S&P 500 Index was up 12 percent, while the NASDAQ Composite increased 19 percent. Financial stocks were the best performing sector, up 21 percent. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ both benefitted from Apple’s (48 percent increase). The gains in the U.S. were part of a global rally, with stock markets from Tokyo to Mumbai and Frankfurt posting their strongest quarterly gains in several years.

Figure 3. U.S. PMI Index and Manufacturing Shipments

Pumps & Systems, May 2012