When it comes to the biggest losers from President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, Manitowoc Co. Inc. (MTW), the crane and lift maker, may receive that title if JPMorgan Chase’s prediction proves true.
In a research report issued earlier this week, JPMorgan predicted Manitowoc could see a 25% decline in earnings per share in 2019 as a result of the tariffs. According to the analysis, which was reported in Barron’s, JPMorgan is assuming the tariff rates will hit metal prices and that it won’t be offset by raising the prices of the equipment. While some manufacturers could hike prices, Manitowoc is already struggling with lackluster demand in the oil and gas and infrastructure markets, which are key segments for the company. Barron’s noted that even with crude prices rebounding, improvements in productivity per well has limited demand for new cranes by oil and gas companies. As for a pickup due to more spending on infrastructure, nothing has materialized despite recent talk in Washington. (See also: Which Stocks Will Win or Lose From Steel, Aluminum Tariffs?)
Late last week, President Trump threw the markets into turmoil when he announced a proposal to impose a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum. That prompted fears of a trade war as countries could move to retaliate, resulting in increased in costs for manufacturers of all sorts of products as well as pricier products for consumers.
Ahead of the tariffs announcement, longtime Trump friend Carl Icahn unloaded close to 1 million shares—about $31.3 million worth—of Manitowoc stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. According to the SEC filing, Icahn began selling Manitowoc stock on Feb. 12, four days before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross publicly released a report calling for a 24% tariff. Following his major sell-off, the investor now owns less than 5% of the crane company, meaning he is no longer required to make another disclosure about his holdings until May. (See also: Charles Schwab Counsels Wait-and-See Approach on Trump Tariff Proposal.)
While JPMorgan thinks Manitowoc will face the biggest hit among heavy machinery makers in the U.S., there are others that could be big losers as well. The Wall Street firm pointed to Oshkosh Corp. (OSK) and Navistar International Corp.(NAV), two truck makers. They both could see earnings decline 15% next year because of the tariffs. Meanwhile, Terex Corp. (TEX), a competing crane maker, could see an earnings hit of 11% while Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Deere & Co. (DE) could face a 5% decline in earnings as a result.