The almighty dollar is falling, and it’s helping to boost shares of multinational corporations like United Technologies Corp. (UTX), 3M Co. (MMM) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), as well as metals producer Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX). If the demise of the dollar continues, these four stocks should be among those that continue to reap the benefits, according to CNBC.
Compared to exactly one year ago today, the DXY US Dollar Currency Index has fallen about 11%. Year to date, it has fallen about 3.5%. Meanwhile, United Technologies is up 27.9% over the past year and 8.4% year to date, as of the close of trading on Thursday; 3M is up 41.5% from a year ago, and up 5.34% year to date; Johnson & Johnson is up 23.7% over the year and 0.2% so far this year; and Freeport-McMoRan is up 15.5% over the past year and 2.6% since the start of 2018 (To read more, see: United Technologies to Surge 30%: Goldman Sachs.)
Benefits of a Weak Dollar
While a falling dollar is bad news if you’re a consumer who likes to take advantage of a strong dollar in foreign markets, it’s good news if you produce exported goods. A cheaper dollar makes American goods relatively cheaper compared to foreign goods, and relatively cheaper means more competitive.
On the other hand, multinational companies that sell goods priced in foreign currencies won’t necessarily get the benefit of more competitive pricing. However, when converting foreign-currency denominated profits back into a weaker U.S. dollar, those foreign profits can now buy relatively more dollars. That means greater U.S. dollar-denominated profits. (To read more, see: How U.S. Firms Benefit When the Dollar Falls.)
United Technologies, 3M, and Johnson and Johnson all claimed that favorable currency exchange rates helped boost fourth-quarter sales. United Technologies said sales increased by 200 basis points (bps), 270 bps for 3M, and 450 bps for Johnson and Johnson. As for Freeport-McMoRan, the mining firm generates as much as 60% of its revenue outside the U.S., according to CNBC.
As of Monday, the U.S. dollar appeared to be recovering on strong U.S. economic data despite comments from the U.S. administration that stressed the benefits for exporters of a weaker currency. Those comments have given markets reason to doubt that the administration will be committed to a stronger dollar.
Following Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, the dollar resumed its decline. Concerns over the budget deficit could certainly put more downward pressure on the dollar as Trump called for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill.