Terex Calms the Terrified Investor

As the debate continues over how severely the slowdown in the U.S. economy will affect foreign markets, equipment manufacturer Terex's (NYSE: TEX  ) CEO Ron DeFeo can confidently tune out the noise ... at least for now. The company released staggeringly positive results last week, emphasizing robust industrial demand overseas by citing "very healthy indicators" for Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

With numbers reminiscent of the good old days of the Dow bull market, Terex reported a 72% increase in fourth-quarter profit year over year, and a 27% rise in revenue. Of the 9.14 billion collected in revenues for 2007, 70% came from non-U.S. sales.

In lockstep with the commodities boom, Terex's materials and mining unit logged the best performance for the quarter with a 50% increase in sales; the cranes unit followed with a 32% rise. Proving that the demand was not a single-quarter fluke, and lending credence to its bullish outlook, the company's backlog of goods ordered but not delivered increased by 53% to $4.18 billion during 2007.

While its larger rivals Deere (NYSE: DE  ) and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) have held up well in recent months, Terex shares closed Wednesday at 35% below their summer 2007 highs. In any other market, yesterday's earnings results would likely spark a meaningful rally, but in recent weeks, it's anyone's guess whether investors will participate with conviction.

For investors balking at the lack of a dividend, Terex is rewarding shareholders with a $500 million share repurchase program. For those seeking two or three second opinions, how about 275 of them? At this writing, that's how many All-Star members of the Motley Fool CAPS community -- out of a total 275! -- expect Terex to outperform the S&P 500.

Terex is an excellent choice for investors seeking long-term value in U.S. equities, so the next time some financial headline sends domestic equities tumbling and Terex shares are included in the sell-off, Foolish investors may find great opportunities to build a position. As they say: "Be greedy when others are fearful."

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