NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- No one really wants to invest in the next boom until it is well underway.
Instead, they keep looking at the wreckage of the last boom, waiting for a recovery there and ignoring the start of the new game until it's obvious.
But financial engineering is done. Housing is done. Stop waiting around for yesterday, start looking around for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is about manufacturing.Take a look at the evidence. The quarterly results delivered by Caterpillar (CAT) Wednesday were not a one-off. Since 2009, the company's sales have nearly doubled and profits are up nearly fivefold. Profits for the latest quarter were $2.54 a share and revenue was up 21%. On a day when Apple disappointed investors, CAT came through. Caterpillar was not alone. Boeing (BA) earned $1.27 a share on revenue of $20 billion, for an earnings beat of 15 cents, Reuters reports. John Deere & Co. (DE) has seen sales grow by nearly 50% over the last two years. Sales at Cummins Engine (CMI) have nearly doubled and profits have quadrupled. Bin Laden is dead, but General Motors (GM) is truly alive. So is Ford (F). So is Chrysler. If you're investing in the new boom, you're pretty much alone. And you're not making money. CMI carries an earnings multiple of under 9. DE is at barely 10. CAT is just a little higher. And GM and Ford? If you bet on them a year ago, you're underwater. Or look at it this way: The new boom is being offered at a discount, and you have time to get in. The reality is American manufacturers today have a myriad of comparative advantages over the rest of the world, even over China:
- Capital is practically free. Interest rates are near record lows, and, when inflation is taken out, can come to less than zero.
- Energy prices are lower here than elsewhere, driven by the natural gas glut.
- Our infrastructure could use work, but it's not terrible.
- Wages are under control, and American workers are still among the best-trained and most productive in the world.
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