Fisher Investments Editorial Staff
Developed Markets, Emerging Markets, US Economy

Revealing a Non-Secret

By, 12/02/2010
 

Story Highlights:

  • The latest data show manufacturing activity is expanding globally, even in perceived weak areas.
  • Little attention is paid to this global trend, and a major key to successful investing is seeing the world more clearly than most.
  • Increasing manufacturing activity, especially in new orders and payrolls, indicate robust current and future demand and support future growth trends.

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In a week of secret-spilling from WikiLeaks to the Federal Reserve, we have another grand revelation: The latest data show manufacturing activity is expanding globally, even in perceived weak areas! Alright, recent manufacturing data releases aren't secrets in the traditional sense—but so little attention is paid to this global trend, to investors it could feel downright confidential. And isn't seeing the world more clearly than most a major key to successful investing?  

Further, manufacturing activity gains in November were truly global—record breaking in some areas. US manufacturing expanded for the 16th straight month, with companies increasing payrolls by 93,000—the most in three years. The UK's manufacturing index rose to its highest reading in 16 years, trouncing expectations for a slowdown in expansion, while its manufacturing employment grew at the fastest pace since this data was first recorded in 1992.  

In the eurozone, manufacturing activity increased to a four-month high, led by Germany and a strong reading from France. Output and new orders both showed gains. More amazing, the overall region's manufacturing index has signaled expansion for the last 14 months, despite ongoing PIIGS concerns. Even troubled Ireland reported a four-month manufacturing activity high in November.  

Manufacturing readings for Emerging Markets impressively showed strong gains across the board, with South Korea reporting the largest rebound and India continuing to lead the world with the highest growth rates. China's official manufacturing index climbed to 55.2, solidly in expansionary territory and beating expectations, despite fears that rising interest rates and reserve requirements would dampen activity.

Increasing manufacturing activity, especially in new orders and payrolls, signal robust current and future demand and support future growth trends—though, naturally, weak pockets exist. This is to be expected—countries don't move in lockstep. But given the focus on weaknesses in PIIGS countries and contagion worries, robust manufacturing activity levels in Europe and the UK are even more impressive and could be indicative of how strong economic fundamentals actually are versus sentiment-driven fears. Now, that's a "secret" worth passing on.

*The content contained in this article represents only the opinions and viewpoints of the Fisher Investments editorial staff.

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*The content contained in this article represents only the opinions and viewpoints of the Fisher Investments editorial staff.

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