Truck sales decline in November

Classes 5-8 truck orders soften in November amid trade and tariff worries

Truck sales downturn could be canary in the coal mine

There are eight classes of commercial motor vehicles in the United States, and they’re divided into three, more general categories: light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. Commercial motor vehicles or trucks that operate on U.S. highways can be classified based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).

ACT Research said in an earlier report:

“Preliminary November data show that Classes 5-8 net order volumes were uniformly soft. Combined NA Classes 5-8 intake fell 15% m/m and 38% y/y in November on a nominal basis. Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 17,500 units in November, down 20% from October, while Classes 5-7 orders fell 8% m/m, to 15,300 units.

Complete industry data for November, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-December.

Various Classes of Vehicles, Stockwinners

ACT’s State of the Industry:

Classes 5-8 report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales.

Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations, while Class 8 is segmented by trucks and tractors with and without sleeper cabs.

This report includes a six-month industry build plan, backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package.

A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.

“Preliminary November data show that Class 8 net orders failed to sustain October’s encouraging start to the order season,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT’s Vice President and Senior Analyst.

He continued, “The freight market downturn worsened in the past month and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs continue to weigh on truck buyers’ psyches. With rising pressure on carrier profits from the combined impact of lower rates and the recent, rather sudden jump in insurance premia, recent events have not developed in the industry’s favor.” Denoyer concluded,

“While private fleets continue to add capacity on the retail end, the market is increasingly heeding for-hire price signals and the stage is being set to right-size the fleet, bringing it closer to equilibrium with the work to be done.”

Historically, Dow Jones Transports have sold off prior to the rest of the market. The .djt has turned bearish as is shown above.

Publicly traded companies in the space include ArcBest (ARCB), J.B. Hunt (JBHT), Knight-Swift (KNX), Old Dominion (ODFL), Swift Transportation (SWFT), Werner (WERN), Paccar (PCAR), Navistar (NAV)and Cummins (CMI).

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Wabco to exit Meritor WABCO joint venture

Wabco agrees to buyout of Meritor WABCO joint venture

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WABCO Holdings (WBC) announced that it will further expand its commitment and operations in the commercial vehicle market in North America by taking full ownership of the Meritor WABCO joint venture. WABCO has signed an agreement to purchase Meritor (MTOR) stake in the joint venture business.

WABCO’s purchase price is $250M. The transaction is expected to close on October 1, 2017 and immediately prior to closing, Meritor will receive a final closing partnership distribution.

Meritor WABCO, employing approximately 200 persons, is headquartered in Troy, Michigan, U.S.A. and had sales of $300M in fiscal year 2016.

It currently sells and distributes a range of WABCO’s leading safety and efficiency technologies for commercial vehicles in North America.

With this agreement, WABCO will take over the former joint venture’s application engineering and supply chain operations, including the distribution center and customer service hub in Hebron, Kentucky.

In addition, WABCO will continue to have exclusive access to a winter test track in Sault St. Marie, Michigan, and joint access to a year-round test track in East Liberty, Ohio to support local customers.

Following closure of the buyout, WABCO has agreed for Meritor to continue to be its exclusive distributor for a certain range of WABCO’s Aftermarket products in the U.S. and Canada, and its non-exclusive distributor in Mexico.

In connection with the purchase transaction, both parties have the option to terminate the distribution arrangements at certain points during the first three and half years, for an exercise price between $225M-$265M based on the earnings of the business.


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Travel Stocks Lower on Hurricane Irma

Cruise line operators slammed as Irma prepares to make landfall

Cruise Line Stocks tumble as Iram approaches Florida. See Stockwinners.com for details

Shares of cruise line operators are in focus amid concerns about the potential impact of Hurricane Irma on the cruise and travel industries, as well as the lingering effect of Hurricane Harvey.

HURRICANE IRMA

Hurricane Irma, which has intensified into a Category 5 storm, is forcing cruise operators to cancel or divert ships as it heads towards the Caribbean and the Florida coast.

The National Hurricane Center has said Irma is a “potentially catastrophic storm” with winds up to 185 miles an hour that will move toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later this week and then make its way toward Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Cuba before heading toward the Florida coast. Hurricane Harvey recently caused widespread damage when it hit the Houston area, with cruise operators rerouting some vessels and canceling other voyages to avoid the storm.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InwmRvzSG60?rel=0&controls=0&w=560&h=315]

IMPACT ON CRUISE OPERATORS

Cruise line operators are monitoring the storm, canceling voyages that haven’t left port and rerouting other ships to avoid stops at islands that may be affected.

According to reports, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) will bring its two Miami-based ships back home ahead of schedule to avoid the storm. Both the 2,004-passenger Norwegian Sky and 4,248-passenger Norwegian Escape will return to Miami from Caribbean trips on Thursday instead of Friday and Saturday, respectively. The cruise operator also canceled sailings of the ships that were scheduled to begin on Friday and Saturday.

Yesterday, Royal Caribbean (RCL) canceled two sailings of Port Canaveral and Miami-based vessels to the Bahamas scheduled to begin on Friday and is rerouting one ship to the west and evaluating other sailings to the Caribbean, Cuba and Bermuda.

Carnival (CCL, CUK) has rerouted four vessels from an Eastern Caribbean to a Western Caribbean itinerary for the week, with a spokeswoman saying “We are watching Irma closely, but we are not canceling any sailings as of now.”

ANALYST COMMENTARY

Morgan Stanley analyst Jamie Rollo said on Tuesday that cruise demand is “solid,” but softened “a little” in August from July due to adverse weather, terror attacks and a U.S. travel warning for parts of Mexico. The analyst thinks Carnival, which reports earnings on September 26, will guide to slower yields in Q4. The firm remains “relatively cautious” on cruise stocks, but raised its price target on Carnival to $61 from $59.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Airline stocks, including American Airlines (AAL), United Continental (UAL), Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) are also on hurricane watch, and will likely be canceling flights in the affected areas.

This morning, United CFO Andrew Levy said Hurricane Harvey was the “largest operational impact we’ve had in the company’s history” and lowered its third quarter pre-tax margin and PRASM guidance. American Airlines President Robert Isom said the company is “keeping an eye” on Irma.

PRICE ACTION

In Wednesday’s trading, shares of Norwegian are down about 1%, Carnival shares trading in New York are down 0.5% and Royal Caribbean is down 1.2%.


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International Barrier Technology Sold for $22 Million

Louisiana-Pacific to acquire Int’l Barrier Tech for $22M

Louisiana-Pacific to acquire Int'l Barrier Tech for $22M. See Stockwinners.com Market Radar to read more

 

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LPX) announced it has entered into an arrangement agreement to acquire Watkins, Minn.-based International Barrier Technology Inc. (IBTGF) for $22M.

The agreement is for 100% of the shares of Barrier, a British Columbia company publicly traded on the TSX Venture Exchange, making Barrier a wholly owned subsidiary of LP.

International Barrier Technology Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets proprietary fire resistant building materials designed to protect people and property from the destruction of fire in the United States. The company uses non-toxic Pyrotite formulation that is used to coat wood panels and has application to engineered wood products, paint, plastics, and expanded polystyrene.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the Barrier shareholders and satisfaction of customary conditions, including court approval.

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Wabco Could be Sold!

A tech company with autonomous truck ambitions could buy Wabco

Piper raised its price target for Wabco shares to $143

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With disruption seen in the automotive market amid the development of connected and autonomous vehicle technology, Piper Jaffray analyst Alexander Potter said he expects the trucking sector to follow suit, leaving Wabco Holdings (WBC) as the only truck stock that he views as worth owning.

BIG TECH EYES TRUCKS

As tech companies develop self-driving technology, Tesla (TSLA) and Amazon (AMZN) are making moves that analysts believe could potentially disrupt the trucking space.

In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September,” after originally announcing the electric truck in his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” released in July, writing it “will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”

Meanwhile in December, Amazon was said to be developing an app, expected to launch this summer, which will connect truckers and shippers in much the same way that Uber connects drivers and riders.

“ONLY” TRUCK STOCK WORTH OWNING

Piper’s Potter raised his price target for Wabco shares to $143 from $129 in a note to investors this morning, saying the company’s upcoming analyst day should illuminate the point that it will benefit, not be disrupted by, secular trends in the industry.

A tech company with autonomous truck ambitions could buy Wabco and then use its “dominant position” in braking/stability control to drive standardization around a suite of self-driving algorithms, the analyst argues.

However, technology companies might not consider purchasing Wabco as they have often preferred to partner with automotive suppliers in order to focus on developing software or operating systems, Potter said, but added investors underestimate the role of electronics and software/controls in Wabco products.

Ignoring a potential takeover, the analyst still believes investors should buy Wabco to benefit from growth themes like automation and connectivity. Potter said even without the self-driving, connected vehicles trend, he expects Wabco’s revenue-per-vehicle-produced to continue to rise, the European truck cycle to recover following French elections and sees upside in China during the year. He keeps an Overweight rating on the shares.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Other publicly traded companies in the trucking and logistics space include C.H. Robinson (CHRW), ArcBest (ARCB), J.B. Hunt (JBHT), Echo Global (ECHO), Expeditors (EXPD), Knight Transportation (KNX), Old Dominion (ODFL), Swift Transportation (SWFT), Werner (WERN) and XPO Logistics (XPO).

PRICE ACTION

Wabco rose 0.1% to $121.68 in early afternoon trading. Shares have a 52-week trading range of $84.48 – $126.07.

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