New logistics index points to economic optimism long term but current inventory movement is below expectations

CLEVELAND -- A new measure of the performance of the top companies in the logistics industry points to long term optimism about the economy due to technology investments, but suggests that short-term restocking of inventories across the U.S. is running below expectations.

The LT 50, a market index that tracks the top 50 publicly-traded logistics companies, shows that from November through mid-January, the technology sector posted the largest stock gains, while companies in the transportation sector were the biggest losers.

"This is meaningful because the technology companies in the LT 50 sell enterprise-level software, which is a long-term investment to support growth," said Dave Blanchard, editor of Logistics Today , the trade publication that created the LT 50 index to track the industry.

"Transportation stocks, on the other hand, tend to reflect the immediate reality of the amount of inventory being moved to stores and warehouses," Blanchard added.

Biggest technology gainers during the period were Manugistics Group, which was up 28.5%, followed by Qualcomm at 19.6%, and Oracle Corp, 17.2%.

Biggest losers during the same period were FedEx Corp. (-6.5%), EGL Inc. (-3.3%), and Heartland Express (-3.1%).

The LT 50 index provides a simplified aggregate view of how the logistics market is performing, compared to the NASDAQ and S&P 500.

The LT 50 is currently at its highest point during the three-month period, outperforming the S&P 500 by 30% and trailing the tech-heavy NASDAQ index by 21%.

"We created the LT 50 to simplify the task of monitoring the logistics industry, and to provide timely reports on the activity in this bellwether sector of the U.S. economy," said Blanchard.

The LT 50 list can be seen at the magazine's website

A stock report on the site is updated on a 20-minute delay. Individual company results are also tracked, and potential customers and investors can click on a stock symbol for live or historical data.

Logistics, the business discipline of developing efficient networks to receive raw materials and deliver products to end-users, is a $910 billion industry in the U.S., representing nearly 9% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Logistics Today , a Penton publication based in Cleveland, serves individuals with job functions and buying influences in all modes of transportation, warehousing and distribution, site selection, regional and global logistics, and technology applications.

For additional information about the LT 50, contact Blanchard at 216.931.9794 or [email protected] If you would like to subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter, Material Handling Management News, please subscribe here.

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