Is it Time to Fade the Machinery Rally?

After the election, machinery stocks jumped sharply on the hope that only Trump’s growth-oriented policies will be successful while growth-restrictive proposals will be watered down, supporting commodity prices and ultimately reinvigorating machinery demand. However, the risk is that the waiting period will prove longer than expected, testing investor patience. While global manufacturing surveys have perked up on the back of inventory restocking, global machinery orders are still sinking, and U.S. machinery new orders are contracting. The strong U.S. dollar makes it dangerous to extrapolate firming global surveys into strong U.S. corporate performance. The chart shows that relative machinery EPS estimates have moved in the opposite direction of relative share prices. As a result, the bottom panel of the chart shows that relative valuations have skyrocketed. The S&P machinery sector’s forward P/E is now trading at a 20% premium to the broad market (over a two decade high, excluding the Great Recession) spiking 6% since November. If earnings fail to live up to extremely optimistic expectations, as we expect, then relative share prices are at risk of a retracement.

Bottom Line: Continue to underweight the S&P machinery index.

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