The housing business is percolating just fine, and lumber shipments keep increasing.
Only agriculture and coal are weak, and both might be hitting some sort of cyclical trough. It is true that plantings are not showing a robust ag year, and the downturn in ethanol is a headwind.
But coal inventories have been worked down big, and they are now in short supply. In fact, I think coal will turn up big if the weather gets warm and air conditioning starts running hard amid a bottom in natural gas. At these prices, those utilities that can shift are shifting. Don't forget that Union Pacific ships cleaner coal, the kind that newer coal plants can handle without running afoul of the Environmental Protection Agency.
All in all, if you sit down with Union Pacific, you get very encouraged that the U.S. is moving again. You know that things are on the right track, so to speak. You know that the energy boom is the single most important spur to growth this country has had in years and years, and that it remains an intense focus for growth.Just so we're clear, though, this is all private sector. Nothing is being helped by Washington. Yet there's no doubt that if the government had supported this industry the way it supported solar, millions of jobs could be created in a relatively short period of time, perhaps as few as five years. Doesn't matter. It's fossil fuel. Not going to happen.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV