Capital Goods Stocks, Including Caterpillar, Making Big Moves on December 21, 2012

By Investopedia Staff | December 21, 2012 AAA

On a bad day for the market, the Nasdaq has fallen 2%, the S&P 500 has slipped 1.9% and the Dow has declined 1.4%. The capital goods sector is the category of stocks related to the manufacture or distribution of goods. The sector is diverse, containing companies that manufacture machinery used to create capital goods, electrical equipment, aerospace and defense, engineering and construction projects. It is also referred to as the "industrials sector". Performance in the capital goods sector is sensitive to fluctuations in the business cycle. Because it relies heavily on manufacturing, the sector does well when the economy is booming or expanding. As economic conditions worsen, the demand for capital goods drops off, usually lowering the prices of stocks in the sector.

The Capital Goods sector (XLI) is currently ahead of the overall market, down only 1.8%, and its biggest movers are currently:

Company Market Cap Percentage Change
Quanex Building (NYSE:NX) $819.4 million -9.3%
KBR (NYSE:KBR) $4.65 billion -5.2%
James Hardie Industries SE (NYSE:JHX) $4.35 billion -4%
M.D.C. Holdings (NYSE:MDC) $1.79 billion -3.8%
Meritage (NYSE:MTH) $1.35 billion -3.3%
Esterline (NYSE:ESL) $1.99 billion -2.1%
Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) $58.53 billion -2%

Broker Summary: OptionsXpress Online Trading Platform

Quanex Building (NYSE:NX) is currently trading at a share price of $20.12, a 9.3% decline. With 437,552 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 1.7 times the average volume over the last three months.

Slipping 5.2%, KBR (NYSE:KBR) is currently trading at $29.85 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 2.3 million shares.

At $47.70, James Hardie Industries SE (NYSE:JHX) has slipped 4%. So far today, the company's volume is 4,577 shares, one times the average daily volume.

Falling 3.8%, M.D.C. Holdings (NYSE:MDC) is currently at a share price of $35.47. The company's volume is currently 337,831 shares. This is on pace to fall short of yesterday's volume of 946,593 shares.

Currently trading at $36.76 per share, Meritage (NYSE:MTH) has fallen 3.3%. So far today, the company's volume is 283,456 shares, in keeping with the average volume over the past three months.

Esterline (NYSE:ESL) has decreased to $63.12 per share, a 2.1% fall. The company is currently trading a volume of 200,066 shares.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) is down 2% to reach $87.67 per share. The company's volume is currently 5.4 million shares for the day, 0.9 times its current daily average.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. Keep in mind that all these ratios should be compared against historical numbers and industry information in order to get a more complete picture.

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