Lumber prices recently hit record highs and remain sharply elevated above last year’s prices. Attributed to trade disputes with Canada, wildfires, and limited rail capacity, lumber prices reached an all-time high of $639 on May 17th and closed as high as $588.80 per 1,000 board feet last Tuesday. The increase represents a jump of approximately 70% from last year.
According to FTR Transportation Intelligence, orders of Class 8 trucks – the heavy-duty trucks that commonly carry goods between cities – reached 133,900 for the first quarter of 2018. The orders represent a 98.4% increase from the first quarter of 2017 and the highest level of orders since 2006.
Prices of aluminum reached their highest point since 2012 on Thursday as US sanctions against Russian supplier United Co. Rusal put a ripple in supply. After the LME and CME Group’s Comex noted the refusal of aluminum deliveries from Rusal – the largest aluminum producer outside of China – Rusal was forced to declare force majeure on shipments of alumina, a key input in the production of aluminum.
Trucking spot rates have increased considerably since electronic logging devices (ELDs) became enforced on December 18th. According to DAT Solutions, for the week ending January 6th, spot rates for dry van shipments averaged $2.30, up 10.6% from the $2.08 average reported for the week just before ELDs became law. Similarly, spot rates for refrigerated and flatbed trailers increased to $2.71 and $2.42 – up 14.8% and 4.3%, respectively, over the same period.
The Greenbrier Companies (NYSE: GBX), a leading manufacturer of railcars and provider of rail services, issued its first quarter 2018 earnings before the market opened today.
Daseke continued its streak of acquisitions by acquiring Belmont Enterprises through its wholly owned subsidiary, Smokey Point Distributing. Olympia, Washington-based Belmont is a dedicated hauler for the residential glass market (STOCE). The acquisition adds to Daseke’s current glass capabilities after acquiring Moore Freight Service last month.
Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) reported its fourth quarter and fiscal-year 2017 results before the market opened this morning. Revenues and net income both fell for the quarter and full-year, though less than analysts expected, resulting in a mid-day gain of 6.7% on the company’s stock.
December 18th marked the first day of enforcement of electronic logging devices (“ELDs”) for truckers. Once regulated using easy-to-“fudge” paper logs, drivers now must log their duty status into an electronic device that monitors hours of service.
McDermott International (NYSE: MDR) and Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (NYSE: CBI) announced yesterday that they would merge in a transaction valued at $6 billion to create a fully vertically integrated onshore-offshore engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) company. The new company, of which McDermott shareholders will own 53% and CBI shareholders will own 47%, will generate approximately $10 billion in revenues and will have backlog of approximately $14.5 billion.
Linamar Corporation (TSX: LNR) announced yesterday that it would acquire the MacDon Group of Companies for $1.2 billion CAD. The consideration will eventually be adjusted by fees and other customary adjustments.