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Equity Perspectives

video

Portfolio Manager Tom O'Halloran discusses the factors that are driving the renewal of American manufacturing—and the related investment opportunities. 

Transcript

Narrator: This is Lord Abbett's Portfolio Commentary.

Mike Weldon: This is Mike Weldon, Partner and Director of Marketing at Lord Abbett. Joining me today are Tom O'Halloran, Partner and Director of Growth Investing and Arthur Weise, Partner and Portfolio Manager of Growth Investing. Gentlemen, welcome. Thanks for being here today.

Tom, I'll start with you. You know the familiar refrain among investors for the last, you know, maybe decade or so, is we just don't make anything in the United States anymore and all of our manufacturing jobs are gone. Now that's not the way you see it, right?

Tom O'Halloran: Not at all, Mike, and in fact, we think that American manufacturers are going through a renaissance and that we have several of them in our portfolios and they're growing at a healthy rate and we think the outlook is good. And what's going on here is really three things. Their comparative advantage has improved, they now have larger emerging markets to sell into, and they're in the midst of a productivity boom led by technology.

On the first point, the comparative advantage has improved and that's just textbook economics looking at the movement of currencies, and wages, and energy costs over the past 40 years really. The dollar has gone down, Chinese wages have gone up, the energy cost of moving goods back to the United States from abroad has gone up. So the U.S. manufacturer enjoys an improved comparative economic advantage.

Secondly, these manufacturers can now sell into emerging market customers that have become much bigger. So when new airlines are rolled out recently you see the airline manufacturers now selling planes to Singapore and China, and many other Asian and South American nations that they did not have the opportunity to sell to before, so much bigger markets for them.

Thirdly, technological developments in a number of areas are helping manufacturers be much more efficient and flexible. We have things like 3D printing which basically allows manufacturers to test out new product concepts before mass producing them so they can quickly change designs if need be to have the product right so it can go into mass production with many of the problems worked out.

We have fiber optic lasers being used by manufacturers to lower energy costs. We have vision systems and robotics which are basically replacing labor and also speeding up the process of manufacturing, so a true productivity boom for American manufacturers.

So for these three reasons we think that they enjoy very good growth prospects.

Mike Weldon: Now, Arthur, turning to you, you know Tom mentioned some of the themes. Can you go a little deeper as to what are some of the types of companies or types of opportunities that we're seeing?

Arthur Weise: Sure, Mike. So one of the opportunities in fiber lasers is a much more efficient laser alternative than the CO2 laser and over the last 10 years it has become the replacement. It is now beginning to find new markets that didn't exist before such as welding of pipelines such as use in 3D manufacturing itself. It's used in new, high tension steel cutting, which hadn't happened before. And we believe that fiber lasers, because they're much more flexible than CO2 lasers will continue to find new applications so we're very excited about that.

Another area that Tom had mentioned that we're very interested in is 3D printing itself. And the reason 3D printing is interesting is because it allows you to create structures that couldn't be created through traditional means and, therefore, we believe it's going to open up tremendous opportunities in manufacturing.

Right now, it's primarily used for design. The materials are strengthening and as they get stronger, and as the manufacturing process is sped up, we believe that it is going to become a much more important part of manufacturing.

Mike Weldon: Okay. Now, Tom, one of the areas that you and I have talked about offline doesn't sound all that exciting, but has provided opportunities for you is something in oven manufacturing. Can you tell us more about that?

Tom O'Halloran: Yes. We have owned a company over the past several years that we continue to own that is the global leader in the manufacturing of ovens. These tend to be mainly commercial ovens and this company has invested heavily in research and development over the years improving the energy efficiency, the speed, and the moisture of the food that comes out of an oven.

And it is a company that, for example, is allowing pizza chains to bake a pizza in a couple of minutes now, so that the 30-minute guarantee is pretty much a lay-up and pizza establishments are leading users of this oven that the company produces.

Additionally, this company is selling ovens to international markets. The Middle East, for example, tends to have unique cooking requirements for its ovens. So this is a company that is a great American manufacturer benefitting from technology and not only selling here in the United States, but selling abroad, so an emerging market beneficiary as well as an American manufacturing renaissance beneficiary.

Mike Weldon: So the return of manufacturing jobs, a potential boom for the U.S. economy, and better pizza all at the same time.

Tom O'Halloran: All at the same time, a winning combo.

Mike Weldon: Okay. Thanks very much, gentlemen. This has been Lord Abbett's Portfolio Commentary. Thanks for watching.

Narrator: For more information on this topic, or to access other videos, audio files, articles or commentary, please explore Lordabbett.com.

Risks to Consider: The value of investments in equity securities will fluctuate in response to general economic conditions and to changes in the prospects of particular companies and/or sectors in the economy. While growth stocks are subject to the daily ups and downs of the stock market, their long-term potential as well as their volatility can be substantial. Investments in foreign companies generally pose greater risks than those of domestic companies, including market, liquidity, currency, and political risks. The securities markets of emerging countries tend to be less liquid, especially subject to greater price volatility, have a smaller market capitalization, have less government regulation and may not be subject to as extensive and frequent accounting, financial and other reporting requirements as securities issued in more developed countries. Further, investing in the securities of issuers located in certain emerging countries may present a greater risk of loss resulting from problems in security registration and custody or substantial economic or political disruptions. These factors can affect Fund performance.

The companies depicted in this video are for informational purposes only and may or may not be held by any Lord Abbett Fund or Strategy.

This broadcast serves as reference material for information purposes only; does not constitute an offer to acquire, solicitation for an offer to acquire, an offer to sell or solicitation for an offer to buy any securities, nor is intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research, or investment advice on any securities, and cannot be used for any of the foregoing.

The views and opinions expressed by the Lord Abbett speaker are those of the speaker as of the date of the broadcast, and do not necessarily represent the views of the firm as a whole. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and Lord Abbett disclaims any responsibility to update such views. Neither Lord Abbett nor the Lord Abbett speaker can be responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.

The value of investments and any income from them is not guaranteed and may fall as well as rise, and an investor may not get back the amount originally invested. Please consult your investment professional for additional information concerning your specific situation.

This broadcast is the copyright © 2014 of Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC. All Rights Reserved. This recording may not be reproduced in whole or in part or any form without the permission of Lord Abbett. Lord Abbett mutual funds are distributed by Lord Abbett Distributor LLC.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY LORD ABBETT FUNDS, CONTACT YOUR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONAL OR LORD ABBETT DISTRIBUTOR LLC AT 888-522-2388, OR VISIT US AT WWW.LORDABBETT.COM FOR A PROSPECTUS WHICH CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT A FUND'S INVESTMENT GOALS, SALES CHARGES, EXPENSES AND RISKS THAT AN INVESTOR SHOULD CONSIDER AND READ CAREFULLY BEFORE INVESTING.

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