By: Nicole Urken | 01/27/14 - 06:12 PM ESTNEW YORK (TheStreet)-Emerging market question marks remain front & center. And while countries like Argentina and Turkey are dominating headlines, front & center is none other than China, with worries of slowing economic growth, with the factory sector contracting in January for the first time in six months. (HSBC's Flash Purchasing Managers' Index, PMI, for January came in at 49.6, down from last month's final reading of 50.5). The emerging market question marks seem to be issue number one for the market right now, particularly as taper has been expected and is gradual. So, when thinking about China: When panic sets in, we turn to company-specific data. Ultimately, broader economic read concerns will dominate headlines, but let's turn back to some positive data we have gotten from individual companies, as there has been a good deal of positive news flow: Industrials: Caterpillar (CAT): While some of the better-than-expected results today were due to cost saves and restructuring, the company also sees sales leveling off this year. And China was a highlight: "Our sales in China were up more than 20% this year. They were up in the quarter. So, you know, it has not been a big negative for us" And regarding the downtick in PMI: "Yes that has occurred... the market reactions really over the past week or 10 days or so. I think in our business it has been pretty positive. We've seen the construction-not just our sales, but kind of the overall construction equipemtn group sales in the industry ticking up year over year and over the past few months. And we saw that again in December, so I think what we've seen has been pretty good." Honeywell (HON) "We had organic growth of 13% in the fourth quarter in China...We also benefited from an uptick in China commercial vehicle demand, driven partially by Euro 3 pre-buy activity in anticipation of the new emissions standards in 2014." "Actually, things feel pretty good for us in China...We did pretty well, if you take a look at the total year and the fourth quarter. When we take a look at our short cycle order rates, they are also looking pretty robust. It's pretty much across the board, across all the businesses... I think it's an economy that is going to continue to grow and grow for a long time. We've just been working very hard at positioning ourselves there to be successful." And on whether this was Honeywell specific or macro, Dave Cote said: "I guess I'd break it into the two pieces. 'm not sure, always how reliable all the statistics are when you see industrial production and that kind of thing out of China. So, whether it's really good are really bad on the statistics, I don't know. I'd that take some of that with a bit of grain of salt. Overall, though, I would say we still see it growing. Within that, we are growing better. So, I would say it's the combination of the two." Johnson Controls (JCI) "And in China, we had significant growth. We keep talking about and hearing about 7%, 9% growth. But what we saw was 14% growth in the quarter as it relates to the OE market...Terrific quarter in China, and we see that momentum carrying through here into the second quarter." Freeport-McMoRan (FCX): "During 2013, China went through a government change, a reorientation of its economy towards internal consumption with less emphasis on exports and infrastructure development. Major spending on infrastructure continues as evidenced by the recent announcement by State Grid to increase its capital spending and that has a major impact on copper consumption there. Consumer demand remains strong. Infrastructure investment in China is a major part of this marketplace." "We continue to be very optimistic about China. In the global copper markets are tight. In China you have, and you can see that with premiums that are paid with falling exchange stocks around the world, it just have dramatic today fall. In China you do have this copper that's in the bonded warehouses that are off exchanges, so it's depending on how that goes, depending on how these financing deals go. When you just look at the performance of the economy in China, even though there's some slowdown, the size of the economies grown to the extend that those somewhat lower percentages still translate into very substantial amounts of copper demand. We're optimistic about it. We're also realistic to know that there could be changes depending on how they manage the inventories, how these financing transactions work and just how their global activities go. We're optimistic about it, and as I said, I think in general, the market's much more optimistic about it than they were a year ago." United Technologies (UTX): "Asia grew about 4% with ongoing strength in China, where sales were up 9%...In China, construction starts and property transactions were strong for the year, giving rise to solid backlogs across our commercial businesses..." The company also noted that its Otis unit should see 20% order growth in 2013
Oh, and of all items for Apple (AAPL), China remains the opportunity, despite question marks.--Written by Nicole Urken in New York. Follow @nicoleurken >Contact by Email.
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