Industrial Industry


  • Diverse – Both in where the companies are and in the end markets served
  • Tends to be economically sensitive
  • Highly correlated to broad markets
  • Tends to have lower profit margins

Sector Drivers

  • Corporate Spending – Economic strength, Corporate financial health, access to cheap capital
  • Construction spending in turn driven by
    • available market supply,
    • real estate prices,
    • vacancy rates,
    • consumer spending,
    • financing conditions and tax incentives,
    • regional economic and population growth and demographics,
    • input availability
  • Beneficiaries of increased construction spending
    • Aerospace and Defense (heating systems, air con, elevators, security systems)
    • Building Products
    • Construction and Engineering
    • Commercial services such as waste management services
    • Industrial Conglomerates
    • Machinery
    • Transportation Industries
  • Beneficiaries of increased manufacturing
    • Electrical Equipment
    • Industrial Conglomerates
    • Machinery
    • Trading companies & Distributors
    • Transportation Industries
  • Transportation Equipment demand is primarily driven by an overall growing economy and industry profitability. Major industry beneficiaries are:
    • Aerospace & Defense
    • Industrial Conglomerates
    • Machinery
  • Industrials exposed to commodities
    • Construction and engineering
    • Industrial Conglomerates
    • Machinery
    • Marine
    • Road & Rail
    • Trading Companies & Distributors
  • Government Spending
    • Defense Spending (Aerospace & Defense, Construction & Engineering, Machinery, Industrial Conglomerates)
    • Infrastructure Spending (Machinery, Construction & Engineering, Industrial Conglomerates, and Electrical Equipment)
  • Capital Goods’ industries make up the bulk
    • Wide sector weights deviations can occur from country to country
    • Concentrated in relatively few large players
      • Market values of the largest firms outweigh global peers by far
      • Barriers to entry in some industries
      • Government involvement in some


Industrial Classification

based on

Capital Goods Aerospace & Defense Aerospace & Defense

Manufacturers of civil or military aerospace and defense equipment, parts or products. Includes defense electronics and space equipment.

Defense companies mainly found in US and dependent on the size of US defense budget. Defense backlog often include

  • Fixed price contracts
  • time-and-materials (fixed hourly wage)
  • cost-reimbursable contracts (fixed fee and reimbursement for allowable costs)

Aerospace companies manufacture non-defense related commercial airplanes and other industrial goods. Mainly duopoly of large aircrafts but extremely competitive with emerging countries designing new planes.

Building Products Building Products

Manufacturers of building components and home improvement products and equipment. Excludes lumber and plywood classified under Forest Products and cement and other materials classified in the Construction Materials Sub-Industry. Competition is a major issue due to limited barriers to entry. Demand is driven primarily by residential and commercial construction and remodeling activity.

Construction & Engineering Construction & Engineering

Companies engaged in primarily non-residential construction. Includes civil engineering companies and large-scale contractors. Excludes companies classified in the Homebuilding Sub-Industry. Projects usually take years and awarded based on their technical expertise, prior track record, and bid competitiveness.

Electrical Equipment Electrical Components & Equipment

Companies that produce electric cables and wires, electrical components or equipment not classified in the Heavy Electrical Equipment Sub-Industry.

Demand for both mainly driven by global industrial production and capacity utilization levels, corporate capital expenditures and manufacturing capacity investments (upgrades, expansions, new facilities, etc).

Heavy Electrical Equipment

Manufacturers of power-generating equipment and other heavy electrical equipment, including power turbines, heavy electrical machinery intended for fixed-use and large electrical systems. Excludes cables and wires, classified in the Electrical Components & Equipment Sub-Industry.

Industrial Conglomerates Industrial Conglomerates

Diversified industrial companies with business activities in three or more sectors, none of which contributes a majority of revenues. Stakes held are predominantly of a controlling nature and stakeholders maintain an operational interest in the running of the subsidiaries.

Machinery Construction Machinery & Heavy Trucks

Manufacturers of heavy duty trucks, rolling machinery, earth-moving and construction equipment, and manufacturers of related parts. Includes non-military shipbuilding.

Agricultural & Farm Machinery

Companies manufacturing agricultural machinery, farm machinery, and their related parts. Includes machinery used for the production of crops and agricultural livestock, agricultural tractors, planting and fertilizing machinery, fertilizer and chemical application equipment, and grain dryers and blowers.

Industrial Machinery

Manufacturers of industrial machinery and industrial components. Includes companies that manufacture presses, machine tools, compressors, pollution control equipment, elevators, escalators, insulators, pumps, roller bearings and other metal fabrications.

Trading Companies & Distributors Trading Companies & Distributors

Trading companies and other distributors of industrial equipment and products.

Commercial  & Professional Services Commercial Services & Supplies Commercial Printing

Companies providing commercial printing services. Includes printers primarily serving the media industry.

Environmental & Facilities Services

Companies providing environmental and facilities maintenance services. Includes waste management, facilities management, and pollution control services.  Excludes large-scale water treatment systems classified in the Water Utilities Sub-Industry.

Office Services & Supplies

Providers of office services and manufacturers of office supplies and equipment not classified elsewhere.

Diversified Support Services

Companies primarily providing labor oriented support services to businesses and governments.  Includes commercial cleaning services, dining & catering services, equipment repair services, industrial maintenance services, industrial auctioneers, storage & warehousing, transaction services, uniform rental services, and other business support services.

Security & Alarm Services

Companies providing security and protection services to business and governments. Includes companies providing services such as correctional facilities, security & alarm services, armored transportation & guarding.  Excludes companies providing security software classified under the Systems Software Sub-Industry and home security services classified under the Specialized Consumer Services Sub-Industry. Also excludes companies manufacturing security system equipment classified under the Electronic Equipment & Instruments Sub-Industry.

Commercial  & Professional Services Professional Services Human Resource & Employment Services

Companies providing business support services relating to human capital management. Includes employment agencies, employee training, payroll & benefit support services, retirement support services and temporary agencies.

Research & Consulting Services

Companies primarily providing research and consulting services to businesses and governments not classified elsewhere.  Includes companies involved in management consulting services, architectural design, business information or scientific research, marketing, and testing & certification services. Excludes companies providing information technology consulting services classified in the IT Consulting & Other Services Sub-Industry.

Transportation Air Freight & Logistics Air Freight & Logistics

Companies providing air freight transportation, courier and logistics services, including package and mail delivery and customs agents. Excludes those companies classified in the Airlines, Marine or Trucking Sub-Industries.

Airlines Airlines

Companies providing primarily passenger air transportation.

Mainly three types of airlines – the major airlines, the regional airlines and the low-cost airlines.

Marine Marine

Companies providing goods or passenger maritime transportation. Excludes cruise-ships classified in the Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines Sub-Industry.

Shipping generally is broken down into wet and dry bulk. Dry bulk shipping is the transportation of bulky raw materials such as coal, iron ore that react badly to water.

Demand is driven by the strength of the global economy and demand for food and commodities. Industry profitability is driven by freight rates, which are most commonly linked to the Baltic Dry Freight Index.

Wet bulk shipping is the transportation of wet goods, primarily oil and petrochemicals. The industry is very cyclical.

Road & Rail Railroads

Companies providing primarily goods and passenger rail transportation.

4 types of railroads in US:

  1. Class I railroads (1 percent of railroads but make up of 67 percent of mileage and main revenue)
  2. Regional railroads
  3. Local line haul
  4. Switching & Terminal Carriers

Companies providing primarily goods and passenger land transportation. Includes vehicle rental and taxi companies.

Transportation Infrastructure Airport Services

Operators of airports and companies providing related services.

Highways & Railtracks

Owners and operators of roads, tunnels, and rail tracks.

Marine Ports & Services

Owners and operators of marine ports and related services.


Bullish and Bearish Industrial Fundamentals

Bullish Drivers Bearish Drivers
Increasing GDP Decreasing GDP
Increasing Industrial production Decreasing Industrial production
Increasing Durable goods orders Decreasing Durable goods orders
Improving ISM Manufacturing numbers Decreasing ISM Manufacturing numbers
Increasing Construction spending Decreasing Construction spending
Increasing Defense spending Decreasing Defense spending
Increasing Commodity prices Decreasing Commodity prices
Improving Corporate financial health Worsening Corporate financial health
Easy Access to capital Difficult Access to capital
Increasing Monthly sales orders Decreasing Monthly sales orders
Increasing Rail volumes Decreasing Rail volumes
Increasing Cargo volumes Decreasing Cargo volumes
Increasing Truck tonnage Decreasing Truck tonnage

Ways to evaluate economic health

Measuring corporate health

  • Company Earnings Announcements
  • SEC Filings
  • News Sources
  • Corporate Profit reports (
  • Interest Rates
  • Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s monthly leasing and finance index (
    • New Business Volume
    • Aging of Receivables
    • Average losses as a percentage of net receivables
    • Credit approval ratios as percentage of all decisions submitted
    • Total number orf employees
  • Loan Survey  (

Industry Specific Indicators


Infrastructure Market

Infrastructure can be broken to

  1. Energy – Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution, and natural gas transmission and distribution.
  2. Social – Schools, Hospitals, Stadiums, public housing, community facilities and prisons.
  3. Telecommunications – Fixed and mobile phone lines, the internet, cable networks, satellite, television and radio towers.
  4. Transport – Airport runways and terminals, railways, toll roads, bridges, highways, tunnels, ports, logistics centers, and other transit systems.
  5. Water and Sanitation – Potable water generation and distribution and sewage collection and treatment.

Infrastructure Investment Drivers

  • Supporting Economic Growth
  • Overusing aging infrastructure
  • Growing Urbanization
  • Encouraging Foreign Direct Investment
  • Ensuring Public Safety

Risks to Infrastructure Growth

  • Economic and government – bureaucracy, corruption, budget, lack of public support. Delays are common.
  • Execution – Labor shortages, commodity and machinery shortages, and cost overrides and increases
  • Financial Market – Difficulty raising funds.

Participating in Infrastructure Boom

  • Public Private Partnerships
  • ETFs and mutual funds
    • Broad-based – IGF, GII, MGU, FGIAX, CSUAX, KGIAX
    • Water exposure – PHO, FIW, CGW, PIO
    • Energy exposure – NLR, MFD, TYG
    • Other – PKB, EVX
  • Buying infrastructure-related stocks
    • Construction & Engineering
    • Electrical Products
    • Industrial Conglomerates
    • Machinery
    • Transportation Infrastructure

Industry Summary

Aerospace & Defense

  • Defense companies tend to do well when expectations for future defense spending and military modernization efforts are rising
  • Defense companies have historically outperformed in bear markets and recessions because product demand is less variable compared to more economically sensitive industries
  • Aerospace companies tend to do well when air travel fundamentals are favorable, including sustained economic growth, increased air traffic, and airline profitability.
  • Market acceptance of a new design is crucial given production and design costs and the number of years the planes remain in service
  • A number of the larger US Aerospace & Defense companies reach a diversified set of markets, linking them to the broad economy as a result

Air Freight & Logistics

  • Package delivery demand tends to correlate with economic strength and do well when economic growth expectations are increasing.
  • Weak economic conditions and oil high prices can limit profits and industry success.


  • Driven by consumers wealth and travel demand.
  • Both discretionary and elastic. Hence airline pricing can affect demand, profitability, and share prices.
  • Rising oil prices can have a detrimental effect on profits and share prices.

Building Products

  • Tend to do well when residential and non-residential construction is strong and remodeling activity is elevated.

Construction & Engineering

  • Tend to do well when corporate and government spending on infrastructure and commercial construction is strong
  • Pay attention to major project delays and escalating project costs as it will affect profits.
  • Global shortages of qualified engineers can cap the growth of individual firms

Commercial Services & Supplies

  • Very diverse and generally do well when corporate spending is high and the economy is strong.
  • Environmental & Facilities Services tend to do well during periods of economic growth and strong construction levels.
  • Tend to be more defensive than other industrial industries.

Electrical Equipment

  • Demand historically follows economic conditions and sensitive to activity in the construction market, industrial production levels, electronic component production and spending by utilities for replacements, expansions, and efficiency improvements.
  • Do well when pricing increases can stay above input cost pressures.
  • A slowdown in corporate profitability and a decrease in manufacturing levels can slow electrical equipment demand.

Industrial Conglomerates

  • Do well when the global economy is strong.
  • Strong infrastructure spending helps drive the larger industrial conglomerates that manufacture large fixed assets.
  • Global diversification helps drive relative outperformance when the global economy performs better than the domestic economy.


  • Demand for machinery has historically followed general economic conditions and sensitive to construction market activity, industrial production levels, commodity prices, and corporate capital expenditure trends.


  • Dry bulk shipping demand is generally driven by the strength of the global economy and demand for food and commodities. Shipping rates are also driven by dry bulk demand, as well as available ship supply and port capacity, both of which are expected to increase moving forward.
  • Wet bulk shipping demand is driven by demand for oil and oil derivatives like petrochemicals.
  • Container ship firms are driven by global trade and available supply ships.

Professional Services

  • Driven by corporate activity and consulting and legal service needs.
  • Human Resource & Employment Services companies tend to be driven by employment demand and corporate profitability

Road & Rail

  • Trucking and Rail companies are driven by global economic growth and consumer and corporate spending levels.
  • Historically highly sensitive to oil prices and corporate success will be likely be driven by how well it can pass on higher costs to its customers.
  • Operational improvements play heavily on stock prices and profitability

Trading Companies & Distributors

  • US trading companies tend to be leveraged to US economic growth and industrial production and manufacturing levels, while foreign firms tend to be driven by global economic growth and commodity prices.
  • Sales are driven by both corporate and government spending levels

Transportation Infrastructure

  • Historically considered the defensive industry as toll-road demand is usually fairly stable.
  • Decrease in road traffic primarily driven by the macro environment and oil prices
  • Port operators tend to do well when global trade is strong. Limited global capacity magnifies the industry’s sensitivity to elevated product demand.

Examples of falling demand:

  • Recession – regional or global; perceived or real
  • Reduction in corporate capital expenditures
  • Weakening corporate profitability
  • Difficulty accessing credit to purchase new equipment
  • Falling construction activity
  • Commodity pressures – high prices drive commodity producer expansions but hurt manufacturers who have the commodity as an input cost
  • Reduction in government infrastructure and defense spending
  • Removal of government tax incentives for equipment purchases and alternative energy spending
  • Inability to source necessary parts and supplies

Industrial Websites and Data Sources

Forecasts/Annual Reports

Aerospace Industries Association Forecast
AIA Construction Forecast
Annual Construction Equipment Business Outlook
Current Market Outlook (Commercial Boeing)
FAA Aerospace Forecast
International Air Traffic Association Industry Outlook
ISM Manufacturing Report on Business
USDA Agricultural Projections


Air Cargo World
Air Transport Association
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Aviation Week
Construction Equipment
Defense News
Industrial Market Trends
Industry Week
Logistics Management
Manufacturing Economy Daily
MAPI Manufacturing
McGraw Hill Construction
Quadrennial Defense Report
Supply Chain Brain
Journal of Commerce
Transport Topics


Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Cass Information Systems Freight Index
Census Bureau
Department of Defense
Electroindustry Business Confidence Indices
Equipment Leasing and Finance Association
Federal Reserve
Robotics Industries Association
United Nations
World Bank
World Trade Organization

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s