Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bad News for the Construction Business: Architects Billings Fall for Fifth Consecutive Month (FLM; PKB; SLX; JJC)

The architects, being the front end of the construction project pipeline are a bit of a leading indicator for quite a few areas of activity. This news does not bode well for the rest of the business, inputs like steel copper and concrete, etc.

FLM; and PKB are construction ETF's that are broader in scope that the homebuilder ETF (XHB). SLC is a steel ETF with a focus on the iron miners while JJC is a copper futures ETN. I don't know if the SEC has approved GlobalX's cement ETF yet.

From the CoStar Group:

Architecture Billings Index Falls For Fifth Straight Month 
Uncertainty From Factors Pummeling U.S. Economy Clouds Construction Activity Indicators
Billings at architecture firms dropped sharply in July, with the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) again dropping 1.2 points last month following a one-point drop in June, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The AIA reported the July score was 45.1, the steepest decline in billings since February 2010, after a reading of 46.3 the previous month. The index fell for the fifth consecutive month, including the fourth straight month of decline in demand for design services. A score higher than 50 indicates an increase in billings by design services firms.

"Business conditions for architecture firms have turned down sharply," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. "Late last year and in the first couple of months of this year, there was a sense that we were slowly pulling out of the downturn, but now the concern is that we haven’t yet reached the bottom of the cycle....MORE