Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What the * is going on here?

The world's oldest marathon(115 years), the Boston Marathon, produced a new world record for the men’s winning time and almost did the same for the women. A mild day on Monday with a rather strong and gusty wind at the runners' backs helped them to phenomenal times this year. Unfortunately, an archaic marathon regulation dealing with the total drop in altitude over the course, from start to finish, which should be 150 feet instead of Boston's approximately 300 feet, prohibits this record from being officially world class. But as my neighbor, a four time Boston runner said, “Try telling the runners that the Boston isn’t tough.” Reports are that the winning time, a world record, will be accompanied by an asterisk.

This week is bringing to our attention the early first quarter reports from the public companies and, as expected from the comments we have received over the past three months, activity in the industrial laser sector continues its last quarter of 2010 performance. This alone is noteworthy because the end of the year, as mentioned in earlier columns, is a “clear the house” time at companies anxious to pump up annual revenues. So when 1Q11 numbers exceed 4Q10 numbers, you know that the market conditions are excellent, or as they say in the wine business, it has legs.

This is not in ignorance of the situation in Japan, as cited earlier, as those numbers are not available yet, but will obviously be seriously impacted by the reduced production schedules being experienced by most Japanese manufacturers. We are eagerly awaiting these numbers as we are now preparing a revised 2010 report and a new 2011 forecast to be presented in June on an ILS Webcast. But as we have stated earlier, any drag on the global economy should be noted with an asterisk as it is not a reflection on the market but on the result of the disaster in Japan.

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