I man handled a ton of conference calls today and none was more striking than the Nucor call. Dan DiMicco, a generally optimistic CEO, is about as negative as I have ever heard him. He said:
“These are the most challenging steel markets we have ever experienced. The severity of this downturn is unprecedented. This is an economic crisis unlike anything seen in our lifetime. We have yet to see any evidence that this severe decline in economic activity has reached a bottom. In fact, conditions have continued to worsen with each month this quarter. It is extremely ugly out there.”
On the trucking side, YRCW‘s CEO Bill Zollars had this to say this evening:
“Unfortunately, the economy progressively weakened throughout the quarter making it more challenging to get ahead of the volume declines.”
The YRCW call is tomorrow morning so I’ll update their status then. Let me stress this point: these are the companies that are at the heart of the downturn. The optimistic comments from Coach’s CEO and other industries are practically meaningless in my opinion. The steel and trucking industries are the industries in the trenches figthing the real battles in this economy. As the old saying goes, there are people that shower before work and people that shower after work. I prefer to use the ones that shower after work as a gauge for the economy. Besides, the ones that shower before work are too busy swindling more money from the taxpayers than to focus time on an economic recovery….