Lufkin? Lovin' It.

There are many advantages to taking a long-term view when investing, but perhaps the greatest of them is the ability to become a confident spectator when markets get caught up in short-term hysteria. The onset of an overdue correction in prices of crude oil this week, from more than $145 to less than $130 per barrel, has ushered in the predictable rush of headlines and commentaries about the end of the energy bull market. Surely all growth in Asia has halted and we’ve stopped using fossil fuels overnight ... or so the news would have us think.

While others may be busy shifting their entire investment strategies accordingly, Fools know to follow the money. For its 2008 second quarter, Lufkin Industries (Nasdaq: LUFK  ) reported a 26.8% rise in earnings from continuing operations over the prior-year period, reaching $1.42 per share and exceeding the company’s guidance. Sales grew by 30.6% to $174.5 million. As usual, though, the Foolish story lies beneath the numbers.

Tracking backlogs among equipment manufacturers is a very effective way for Fools to follow the money within the commodity-centric sectors. Just as backlogs for mining equipment makers Bucyrus (Nasdaq: BUCY  ) and Joy Global (Nasdaq: JOYG  ) allow investors to peer into the future, Lufkin’s growing backlog paints a rosy mid-term outlook. Lufkin’s backlog for oilfield products rose to $170.9 million, up 76.1% from last quarter and 206.4% year over year.

Lufkin Industries may not pack the star power of much larger competitors like Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) or Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI  ) , but that didn’t stop Motley Fool CAPS players from recognizing the company’s potential. CAPS All-Star TMFEldrehad, currently ranked 16th out of more than 110,000 players, recommended Lufkin Industries to readers of his EldrehadsPicks blog back in October 2007.

With a 35% gain in shares of Lufkin Industries since his recommendation, CAPS players who paid attention could have garnered 51-percentage-point outperformance against the S&P 500. If you are searching for great ideas from some of the most talented individual investors out there, look no further than the Motley Fool CAPS community.

Further Foolishness:

Fool contributor Christopher Barker captains yachts and writes about stocks. He can also be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He owns no shares in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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