The current outlook for industrials is clouded by uncertainty, but risks are skewed to the downside. In our view, capital expenditure will continue to underperform until the coronavirus pandemic is over. In addition, the energy sector will see a wave of credit defaults and then bankruptcies, followed by consolidation and lower production, and transports will scramble to react to virus impacts according to their modal exposure.

We discuss leading indicators of U.S. industrial production, including Japanese Machine Tool Builders Association (JMTBA) new orders and flatbed trucking tender rejections. JMTBA new orders are quite low, while flatbed tender rejections have rebounded, likely due to a fairly robust housing market.

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