Market update: good news for controls in 4Q03

Finally, we have a quarter that looks like everything has turned upward. The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached the magic 10,000 plateau in the fourth quarter of 2003 (4Q03), and the NASDAQ reached its equally magic 2,000 level. Both indexes were up 12% for 4Q03, and the other two indexes increased by approximately the same amount.

02/01/2004


Finally, we have a quarter that looks like everything has turned upward. The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached the magic 10,000 plateau in the fourth quarter of 2003 (4Q03), and the NASDAQ reached its equally magic 2,000 level. Both indexes were up 12% for 4Q03, and the other two indexes increased by approximately the same amount.

However, the really good news is that the Control Engineering Index shot up almost 22% for 4Q03. The indexes' comparison chart shows that the CE Index paralleled the major indexes during 2003, after having been somewhat volatile in 2002. All but one company in the CE Index increased in value for 4Q03, mostly in the 15 to 20% range. However, the overall index increase can be attributed to the two largest companies, Siemens and Tyco, which increased in value by 30 to 35%.

All these results reflect the blazing upturn in 4Q03, in which the U.S. GDP increased more than 11%. This performance made 2003 a definite boom, compared to the busts of the last couple of years. The unemployment rate was the only indicator that wasn't encouraging, but this also is expected to turn around.

The earnings picture was not as bright for 4Q03, but the results were not as bad as the chart indicates. All but one company increased earnings for 4Q03, though one firm had greater negative earnings for the same period, which affected the overall results.

Hang on to your seat belts! If 4Q03 has enough inertia to carry over to at least two more quarters, it should make for an interesting and prosperous 2004 for the controls industry.







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