EQUIPMENT SECTOR FALTERS AS INDEX INCHES UP

EQUIPMENT SECTOR FALTERS AS INDEX INCHES UP

The Journal of Commerce Transportation Stock Index posted a very slight gain last week, mirroring the results for the overall industrial market.

The exception was the equipment sector. Central Transport Group and Greenbrier Cos. posted significant stock price declines, bringing down the result for the entire sector. A spurt in overseas container manufacturing has generated some worries about softness in future demand.As a sector, shipping showed level performance in stock prices last week. However, there were some individual exceptions. In the container shipping sector, some Japanese carriers continued to show weakness, owing to problems with the yen.

Japanese carriers have a larger percentage of yen-based costs than most other container carriers. In addition, Transportation Maritima Mexicana, Mexico's primary shipping line, showed some weakness in its stock, despite posting a generally positive earnings report.

In the bulk sector, five out of the 14 companies tracked posted losses. However, strong performances from Leif Hoegh & Co. and OMI Corp. helped outweigh those negative effects on the sector. OMI applied to put one of its tankers under a government subsidy contract. Leif Hoegh announced that it expects to boost its profit significantly this year based on strong first-half results, particularly in its refrigerated cargo and car-carrying businesses.

Burlington Northern Railroad and Santa Fe Pacific Corp. stock continued to show strong value following the merger approval of their railway subsidiaries. Management changes at Union Pacific Corp. appeared to win a vote of confidence

from Wall Street. Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific Corp. stock showed some weakness. CP's main competitor, Canadian National Railway, announced a restructuring program in some of its eastern operations.

Overall, the trucking sector posted a slight gain, despite continued discounting in the industry.

Only four of the 11 companies tracked posted losses.