The Editor's Page -- Building Investment In Manufacturing

Dec. 21, 2004
Help analysts recognize great opportunities.

Psst. Want some good stock tips that you're likely not to see anywhere else? Click here to find profiles of three manufacturing companies that have caught the attention of Wall Street for their promising leadership and long-term strategic planning, despite the economic downturn that is affecting everyone. Then read the profile of a steel company poised to capitalize when the economy recovers. You may be surprised at our decision to profile these companies, three of which operate in decidedly "old-economy" industries. No, IndustryWeek hasn't changed its mission and become a stock-picking vehicle. We're just frustrated with the appalling lack of attention manufacturing company stocks get on the Street and decided we should do something about it. So while the stories, like those published in previous issues, are rich with details about the management strategies that help make these companies leaders in their industries, they also feature analyst input. Our colleagues at the National Assn. of Manufacturers (NAM) similarly feel that analysts give short shrift to stable manufacturing companies' stock and mistakenly focus on "hot" companies that promise outrageous growth but never deliver. (Can you say "dot-bomb"?) NAM is calling on you, executives of manufacturing companies, to help educate analysts about great investments within the manufacturing sector. In fact, the origins of the Stormproof! profiles derive in part from a conference call with a NAM representative and a few stock analysts. The goal was to hear analysts' impressions of manufacturing company stocks and, perhaps, glean how we could influence their opinions of those stocks. During the phone call one particularly skeptical analyst noted that he couldn't understand why companies in the United States need to manufacture anything at all. The analyst said he could think of nothing that couldn't be manufactured more effectively offshore. Such is the root of our dilemma. When asked how he could be convinced otherwise, the analyst replied that we need to identify specific companies and show why they should garner higher values than they're getting. So with the help of a few enlightened stock analysts, IndustryWeek delivers on that request. We all know the market moves in mysterious ways, but that won't stop us from trying to bring some sense to its valuation of manufacturing stocks. In the long run, as they say, the market is always right. Eventually the market will come to its senses about manufacturing companies. We just have to give it a little help. Patricia Panchak is IW's editor-in-chief. She is based in Cleveland.

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