Commerce Report and Goldman Sachs Bolster Metals

Brittney Barrett |

Industrials and materials had been failing to take off while other sectors recovered over the past four days. That changed during Wednesday trading after the commerce department reported a rise in factory orders of over 2.4 percent for the month of July. This not only surpassed economist expectations but helped to buck the weight regarding the slowing global economy.

Attention on the global economic slow-down has prompted speculation over a double dip and weighed on the Wall Street consciousness. Today’s announcement regarding factory orders or the rising demand on manufacturers, directly benefitted the basic materials sector as hope arose regarding a reversal of attitudes.

Compounding the impact of the rise in factory orders was a bullish note issued by investment banking firm, Goldman Sachs (GS). Metals, especially those designated for commercial use, have been tanking during the past two months, meaning the current entry point is attractive. Bargain hunters have been keen on areas of the market like financials and tech, but have been less enthusiastic about metals and mining as the number keep falling and fear looms that development will hit a stand still should the global economy continue to weaken.

There have been no incentives, in terms of fundamentals driving a change until this point. The increase in factory orders; however, represents a potential shift. The dual impact of the Commerce announcement and the Goldman note led shares of such companies as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) up considerably. The mining company has not been doing as poorly as some of its competitors, having both gold, as a safe haven, and copper, in the event the economy recovers in its arsenal.

Other corporations that shot up today include the aluminum maker Alcoa Inc. (AA), which was among the Dow’s top gainers. Century Aluminum Company (CENX), a smaller aluminum producer, also benefitted from the serendipitous support from the commerce department and GS.

Aluminum and other metal miners also helped boost shares of equipment makers that design for metal mining. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), which tends to climb alongside food related commodities as well, saw its shares improve for the day. The continued strength of agricultural ETFs has kept Caterpillar afloat but it has fallen behind the progress of some competitors in that area like Mosaic (MOS). This could potentially even the play field for the companies.

 Joy Global Inc. (JOYG) also began rallying today as the note and the report combined with and optimistic quarterly earnings report for a strong Wednesday performance.

Many investors have been holding out for a strong piece of news indicating its time to buy.  With interest rates low it’s a great time to be in the market, but unpredictable indexes and continually mixed data have prevented many from diving in. Rather investors have been, since prior to the major swings, encouraged to remove weight from their portfolios as a preventative measure. The lack of evidence for potential economic rebound has led investors that made their exit continue on the sidelines. Until today, there was no incentive for them to re-enter, especially not in the metals and mining sector.

Even gold, typically a safe haven, has been wavering so much lately, that there is very little left about it that's safe. As a result of the slowing gold progress and bubble speculation, even miners that specialize in the metal have only been experiencing lukewarm gains.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
AA Alcoa Inc. 26.88 0.19 0.71 6,223,117
CAT Caterpillar Inc. 86.33 -0.30 -0.35 3,592,324
CENX Century Aluminum Company 7.21 -0.11 -1.50 2,241,905


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