For the next three weeks I will be shedding light on the earnings season within Europe and how these results will impact industries globally. For all intents and purposes this is a thematic piece which looks at the over-riding health of a variety of industries, rather than comparing figures to analyst expectations.
Transport & Logistics
Kuehne & Nagel (OTCPK:KHNGY)
One of the world's top freight companies active in every segment (land, air and sea). The company is going through a restructuring story, closing a variety of locations in order to increase operating profit and shareholder returns.
Management issued a sombre statement that economic activity is weighing on shipping companies as the eurozone continues to lag. Because of this, the company expects the Air-Freight market to shrink by 2% while they enjoy a quarter of market share gains.
While this news isn't exactly unexpected, there is unfortunately no indication of a protracted consumer upturn. Consumer spending and air-freight tend to be leading indicators on the economy but this particular quarter leaves us with little additional info beyond what we all ready know.
The only US peer is UPS (NYSE:UPS) which is active in both Air & Road. The stock reached $91 before dropping to $86 on Friday and Kuehne's release is unlikely to provide the support necessary to recover these new highs.
Despite many worries about a sub 7.5% growth rate, stemming from the financial minister's gaffe (spoke of the 7% growth rate in passing), the numbers, like clock-work, came in-line but considering the nature of reporting, no-one knows the real story.
Since China began a rebalancing act, focusing on consumer spending as opposed to investment spending, analysts have been looking left, right and centre for clues as to the seriousness of their claims and whether or not the world's engine of growth had finally stalled. Since these claims by outgoing Prime Minister Hu in November, Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) has dropped 25%, BHP Billiton BHP has dropped 13% and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) is more or less at similar levels. For the miners in particular, this downwards pricing trend has been evident since 2011.
It is of no surprise that the metals & mining industry depend wholly on China for their livelihoods. For instance, China (in 2010) consumed 40% of the world's global production of copper, 40% of aluminum, and 45% of coal.
Despite these cautionary noises from Beijing, Iron Ore exports from Australia's main port (Hedland) remain at elevated levels. For the month of June, Iron Ore exports to China stood at 23m tonnes which is substantially more than the 14m tonnes exported in the same period in 2011.
While investors have filled their purse of worry with everything from another eurozone crisis, Portuguese jitters, the threat of savers losing money in future banking recapitalizations, FED tapering, and Middle East instability, Chinese growth stands as the most significant problem.
The Chinese interbank spike may have occurred for a variety of other reasons than those given by the press desperate to pad out an occurrence with a story, but it cannot be ignored that this wouldn't happen in a healthy economy.
I'm not expecting China to witness a full blown banking crisis, but there may well be implications for metals and mining stocks.
Concluding, on a results light day (I haven't included the banks) the Logistics Market is set for a continual languishing which is worrying considering that many consumer stocks are pitching their hopes upon a fantastic second half.
Furthermore, it is worthwhile following China a little closer, with specific focus on house-building, capital projects, raw materials exported (Hedland Website) and outlooks from Komatsu (OTCPK:KMTUF), Caterpillar, Konecranes (OTC:KNCRF) and Hitachi Construction OTC:HTCMF.