Stocks endured their worst quarter in five and a half years, as Wall Street sought to integrate credit woes, high oil prices, job losses, and continued weakness in the housing market. Subprime woes continued to work their way sideways into the economy as the quarter ended March 31, 2008.
Central bankers worldwide coordinated efforts to keep the credit sector meltdown contained as they injected a cash infusion into the global economy, with the Fed injecting over $200 billion into financial markets on March 10. The Fed also cut interest rates 2 full basis points in three separate meetings, with the federal funds rate now at 2-1/4 basis points.
Volume was thin for much of March as investors sat on the sidelines waiting for a spring thaw. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index came in with a higher number than expected on the last day of the session, thus sparking a rally. "It is a function of the last day and window dressing, but it is being buttressed by the sense that there's going to be this massive realignment of regulation for the markets, which I think most participants would agree is long overdue," said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets.
The Construction Magazine Index felt the bite of the downturn, and lost 464.45 points, or 15.87 percent, to end the quarter at 2461.49. Cummins had a 2-for-1 stock split effective Jan. 3, 2008. Declining issues easily outpaced advancing issues by a better than 2-to-1 margin.
Steel producers in the United States were up substantially this quarter, with AK Steel marking the top dollar spot with an 8.18-point increase. AK Steel announced a carbon steel price increase for orders shipped May 1 and later. For its fourth quarter, AK Steel swung to a profit of $106.7 million, or $0.95 per share, compared to a loss of $49.3 million, or $0.45 per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2007. AK Steel also reported higher revenues, up 7 percent to $1.69 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of $0.59 per share on revenues of $1.68 billion. AK Steel was up 17.69 percent, and ended at 54.42.
U.S. Steel, another index component, increased 5.96 points, or 4.93 percent, and closed at 126.87. "U.S. Steel may be the lowest cost, flat rolled steelmaker in the U.S., given its strong iron ore position and major coke-making operations," wrote Soleil Securities Group analyst Charles Bradford in a note to clients. Bradford kept his rating of "hold," but raised his price target to $110, from $105.
Martin Marietta (MLM) tumbled 26.43 points, or 19.93 percent, this session after its fourth-quarter earnings fell 10 percent on higher fuel prices and weaker volumes, and earnings missed analysts' expectations. Martin Marietta reported earnings of $56.5 million, or $1.35 per share, down from $62.5 million, or $1.38 per share, in the quarter a year previous. Revenue was up to $536 million, from $529 million in the comparable year-ago quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of $1.55 per share on revenues of $537.2 million. MLM also said its 2008 forecasts would come in below analysts' estimates. Martin Marietta said it will earn between $6.25 per share to $7 per share for 2008; analysts were expecting earnings of $7.14 per share. MLM closed at 106.17, and was the top dollar loser.
Pulte Homes saw its loss widen in the fourth quarter, reported in late January. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Pulte lost $874.7 million, or $3.46 per share, a broader loss than the $8.4 million, or $0.03 per share reported in the year-ago quarter. However, shares of the homebuilder ended in the positive column and Pulte closed at 14.55 after a 4.01-point, or 38.05-percent, increase. Research firm JMP Securities upped its rating for Pulte in late March to "market outperform" from "market perform."
Although Cummins said its revenue will increase in 2008 by 12 percent, and the company reported a 5-percent increase in its fourth quarter, investors hammered Cummins after the results missed analysts' expectations, sending the stock down 16.87 points, or 26.48. For the fourth quarter, Cummins earned $198 million, or $1 per share, compared to earnings of $189 million, or $0.94 per share, in the year-ago period. However, analysts were expecting that Cummins would earn $1.05 per share. Revenue was up 16 percent for the quarter, to $3.52 billion. Cummins ended the quarter at 46.82 and was the top percentage loser.
|Exchange||Ticker Symbol||Company Name||Price 3/31/2008||Price 12/31/2007||Net Change||Percent Change||52-Week High||52-Week Low||Shares Outstanding||Market ($000) Capitalization|
|NYSE||AKS||AK Steel Holding Corp.||54.42||46.24||8.18||17.69%||57.19||23.29||111910||6090142.2|
|NYSE||ASH||Ashland, Inc. (APAC)||47.30||47.43||-0.13||-0.27%||68.99||39.82||62900||2975170|
|NYSE||CNH||CNH Global NV||52.03||65.82||-13.79||-20.95%||70.00||35.60||237170||12339955.1|
|NYSE||DAI||DaimleChrysler AG (Freightliner)||85.55||95.63||-10.08||-10.54%||111.65||68.20||1010000||86405500|
|NYSE||DE||Deere and Co.||80.44||93.12||-12.68||-13.62%||94.77||51.59||436040||35075057.6|
|NYSE||DHI||D.R. Horton, Inc.||15.75||13.17||2.58||19.59%||24.49||9.78||315150||4963612.5|
|NYSE||EXP||Eagle Materials, Inc.||35.55||35.48||0.07||0.20%||52.16||28.21||43390||1542514.5|
|NYSE||XOM||Exxon Mobil Corp.||84.58||93.69||-9.11||-9.72%||95.27||74.94||5350000||452503000|
|NYSE||GT||Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.||25.80||28.22||-2.42||-8.58%||36.90||22.27||240180||6196644|
|NYSE||GVA||Granite Construction Ltd.||32.71||36.18||-3.47||-9.59%||74.62||26.64||38950||1274054.5|
|NYSE||IR||Ingersoll Rand Company Ltd.||44.58||46.47||-1.89||-4.07%||56.66||34.46||272650||12154737|
|NYSE||VMC||Legacy Vulcan Corp.||66.40||79.09||-12.69||-16.05%||128.62||60.20||108370||7195768|
|NYSE||MTW||Manitowoc Company, Inc.||40.80||48.83||-8.03||-16.44%||51.49||30.07||129860||5298288|
|NYSE||MLM||Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.||106.17||132.60||-26.43||-19.93%||170.25||95.02||41250||4379512.5|
|NYSE||OSK||Oshkosh Truck Corp.||36.28||47.26||-10.98||-23.23%||65.83||35.00||74220||2692701.6|
|NYSE||SGR||Shaw Group, Inc.||47.14||60.44||-13.30||-22.01%||77.30||29.02||83360||3929590.4|
|NYSE||WFC||Wells Fargo & Co.||29.10||30.19||-1.09||-3.61%||37.99||24.38||3300000||96030000|
|NYSE||X||United States Steel Corp.||126.87||120.91||5.96||4.93%||127.60||74.41||117800||14945286|
|NASD||RMIX||US Concrete, Inc.||3.80||3.33||0.47||14.11%||9.48||2.14||39910||151658|
|Note: Cummins had a 2:1 stock split effective 1-3-08.|
|Price 3/31/2008||Price 12/31/2007||Net Change||Percent Change|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||12262.89||13264.82||-1001.93||-7.55%|
|S&P 500 Index||1322.70||1468.36||-145.66||-9.92%|
|$ Gainer||AK Steel Holding Corp.||8.18|
|$ Loser||Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.||-26.43|
|% Gainer||Pulte Homes||38.05%|
|% Loser||Cummins, Inc.||-26.48%|
|Top Dollar Gainers|
|AK Steel Holding Corp.||8.18|
|United States Steel Corp.||5.96|
|D.R. Horton, Inc.||2.58|
|Top Percentage Gainers|
|D.R. Horton, Inc.||19.59%|
|AK Steel Holding Corp.||17.69%|
|US Concrete, Inc.||14.11%|
|Top Dollar Losers|
|Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.||-26.43|
|CNH Global NV||-13.79|
|Shaw Group, Inc.||-13.30|
|Legacy Vulcan Corp.||-12.69|
|Top Percentage Losers|
|Oshkosh Truck Corp.||-23.23%|
|Shaw Group, Inc.||-22.01%|
|CNH Global NV||-20.95%|
|Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.||-19.93%|
|Source: Trade Trends, Inc., (509) 327-1279|