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Fastener Stocks Outperform Indexes Amid Pandemic

Fastener Stocks Outperform Indexes Amid Pandemic
March 01
18:25 2020

Global markets reacted strongly in the last week amid fears that the spreading coronavirus outbreak may develop into a pandemic that could sicken or kill untold thousands of people and drive the global economy into a recession.

“Stocks tumbled for a seventh consecutive day on Friday, with the S&P 500 index falling about 0.8 percent, bringing its loss for the week to about 11.5 percent,” the New York Times reported.  “It was the worst weekly decline for stocks since the 2008 financial crisis.” 

The market correction caused U.S. industrial stock indexes to lose 11.8% in value since February 21.

In contrast, the FIN Fastener Stock Index faired better, losing only 9.8% of its value during the same period.

Fastener stocks losing 10% or more in value included Arconic (down 12.3%); Carpenter Technology (down 16.4%); Dorman Products (down 20.9%); Bisco Industries (down 11.9%); Fastenal (down 11.9%); ITW (down 11.5%); Lawson Products (down 13.1%); MSC Industrial (down 13.2%); Nucor (down 14.8%); Park Ohio (down 17.5%); and TriMas (down 14.5%).

No FINdex stock increased value in the past week.

As of March 2, more than 87,000 people in 59 countries have become infected with the virus, and nearly 3,000 people have died, including six deaths in the U.S., according to Newsweek.

Manufacturers across China have endured long and unexpected shutdowns since late January because of a coronavirus epidemic, according to the Times.  Many factories remain closed.

Chinese fastener factories have started returning to work after the “enforced extension of the Chinese New Year holiday as part of the containment of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak,” Fastener & Fixing Magazine editor emeritus Phil Matten reported in February.

“Few factories appear, so far, to be operating at full capacity and others are reported not to be restarting for at least several more days,” Matten reported.

Anecdotal reports from the Chinese fastener industry suggest factory operating capacities range from 50% to 100%, with the median for larger factories around 80%.  Factories expect more workers to gradually return, increasing output.

Some fastener factories have a significant number of workers from Hubei province who are unable to return to their work location; others say their workforce is mainly or entirely local.

“To obtain local government authorization factories reportedly need to demonstrate that they have customer orders to process and have hygiene and disinfection regimes in place,” Matten reported.  “They must also submit full details of all workers including where they live and their health status and then commit to monitoring and reporting on workers temperature and health every day.”

Even as production recovers, “challenges are likely to continue in moving containers by road to the ports and in finding capacity on container ships,” Matten pointed out.  Truckers are reported to be restricted from leaving and entering cities or crossing provincial borders and that general quarantine and travel restrictions have made it difficult for drivers to return to work.  Sea container lines have cancelled ship departures over recent weeks due to lack of volume.

Last month the 2020 Taiwan International Fastener Show was postponed from April to October due to the Wuhan coronavirus.

“After comprehensive consideration of the new coronavirus epidemic, the organizer decided to extend the exhibition date,” according to the official statement.

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