NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Monthly wholesale shipments of recreational vehicles rose in August for the first time in nearly two years, a trade group said Monday as shares of companies that make such products climbed. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association said overall wholesale shipments of recreational vehicles last month increased 5.3 percent over August 2008 ¿ the first monthly increase since October 2007. The improvement stemmed from a 9.9-percent gain in the number of towable recreational vehicles that were shipped, the industry group reported. Janney Montgomery Scott analyst John T.G. Rogers said the sector appears poised for steady growth. "We continue to believe consumer tastes, demographics, and the economics of RV ownership will support continued growth over the long term," he wrote in a client note. Rogers said White Plains, N.Y.-based Drew Industries Inc., which makes parts for recreational vehicles, will be a major beneficiary of the sector's return to growth. "Management has done an excellent job of managing costs during the downturn, and with its strong balance sheet and adequate access to capital, Drew is well positioned to capitalize on competition weakness," the analyst said, reiterating his "Neutral" rating on the stock.
However, the analyst cautioned that although he sees an eventual return to normalized sales of RVs and mobile homes, the timing of that is uncertain. In late morning trading, Drew Industries rose $1.48, or 7.2 percent, to $21.98, Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. added 88 cents, or 6.8 percent, to $13.81 and Jackson Center, Ohio-based Thor Industries Inc. increased $1.54, or 5.6 percent, to $29.14. Earlier in the session, the stock hit a new 52-week high of $29.32.