Data suggest U.S. economy, controls began recovery in 4Q01

Despite financial fluctuations following the World Trade Center tragedy and recent economic downturn, data indicate that U.S. financial and controls markets started rebounding at the end of 2001.Outperforming the overall markets, industrial controls improved by 26% in 4Q01 over the previous quarter, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500 improved only 13%...

By George J. Blickley, contributing editor March 1, 2002

Despite financial fluctuations following the World Trade Center tragedy and recent economic downturn, data indicate that U.S. financial and controls markets started rebounding at the end of 2001.

Outperforming the overall markets, industrial controls improved by 26% in 4Q01 over the previous quarter, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 improved only 13% and 10%, respectively. The CE Stock Index increase also reflected recent improvement among technical stocks, as shown by the NASDAQ composite, which grew by 30% during 4Q01. These figures don’t look like the recession that officially started in March 2001, but they may indicate that the downturn will be over soon and that it actually may be one of the mildest in the past 50 years.

The market value of companies included in the CE Indexes reflected the overall confidence in the industrial control market. Significant gains were achieved during 4Q01, which was a stark contrast to 3Q01’s big drop.

Investors appeared to maintain this overall faith, despite poor earnings by some companies. However, the drop in the CE Index during 3Q01 was pretty much what U.S. industry suffered in general. Industrial controls did not exactly recover from this decline, but remained essentially the same. This index should show an increase in 1Q02, when improved earnings figures are released.

In addition, financial forecasters predict that the nation’s real GDP will pick up by 2002’s second half.

Control Engineering Stock Index

Stock prices ($) at close 9/28/01 ($) close 12/31/01 % chg. in 4Q01 52-wk. high Annual div. yield Price/earn. ratio 12-mo. EPS ($)
Ametek Inc. 26.28 31.89 21.3 34.00 0.63 15 2.16
Badger Meter Inc. 25.30 22.43 -11.3 33.50 4.46 21 1.06
Danaher Corp. 47.18 60.31 27.8 68.69 0.17 25 2.38
Eaton Corp. 59.21 74.41 25.7 81.44 2.42 23 3.19
Emerson Electric Co. 47.06 57.10 21.3 79.25 2.80 24 2.40
Flowserve 19.75 26.61 34.7 33.30 0 NC 0.05
Honeywell Inc. 26.40 3.82 28.1 53.90 2.37 58 0.58
K-Tron International 10.97 10.45 -4.7 18.75 0 14 0.77
National Instruments 26.17 37.46 43.1 57.56 0 47 0.80
Rockwell Automation 14.68 17.86 21.7 49.45 3.92 11 1.65
Siemens 38.40 65.48 70.5 80.00 0 7 8.78
Thermo Electron 18.05 3.86 32.2 30.63 0 NC -0.43
Transmation Inc. 1.10 1.37 24.5 3.11 0 69 0.02
Tyco International Ltd. 45.50 58.90 29.5 63.22 0.17 23 2.55
EPS = earnings per share
Yield = % based on closing price
Div. = dividend
NC = not calculable due to negative numbers
Source: Control Engineering with data from Cnet Investor (Boulder, Colo., www.investor.cnet.com, 303/938-1877)