3 Reasons to Sell Cummins Stock

I'm going to attempt something a little odd today, Fools. Even though I recently bought shares  of engine-maker Cummins (NYSE: CMI  ) I'm going to be giving you three reasons to consider selling Cummins stock today.

Why am I doing this?

Recently, Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman visited Fool headquarters in Virginia. While visiting, he talked about how a number of different biases can lead us to believe that we can predict the future with relative certainty. In reality, he argued, we are just deluding ourselves.

It got me to thinking about how I don't write enough about the risks of owning the stocks I own. So, though I don't plan on selling my Cummins stock right now, I think it's healthy for me to practice and model this behavior.

1. Big slowdown in emerging markets
Many investors in Cummins are hoping for the company to grow its presence in Brazil, China, and India. As those countries build out their infrastructures, there will be continued demand for trucks and machinery. If a Cummins engine can find its way into those trucks or pieces of heavy machinery, it would have a significant effect on the company's revenue.

In 2012, however, there was a noted slowdown from these emerging markets. Sales from China, Brazil, and India, were down 27%, 38%, and 12%, respectively. While it's important to note that these three countries combined account for only 15% of total revenues in 2012 – they are an important part of many investors' vision for Cummins.

2. Customers decide to go in-house
While Cummins makes a dizzying variety of engines, it doesn't make any of the vehicles that actually use the engines. As the company states in its annual report: "PACCAR, Volvo AB, Navistar International Corporation and Chrysler, are truck manufacturers or OEMs that manufacture engines for some of their own products...[but] have chosen to outsource certain types of engine production to us."

Photo courtesy of Cummins

The business from PACCAR (NASDAQ: PCAR  ) in particular, is important to Cummins. In 2012, PACCAR accounted for 13% of Cummins' consolidated net sales. If any of these companies were to switch to a different engine maker, or choose to make their own engines in-house, it would likely cause a noticeable decline in revenue.

3. Differing emissions standards
One of the huge advantages to investing in Cummins is that it exposes you to a company that is on the cutting edge of low-emissions engines. Cummins has worked to develop engines that comply – and go above – EPA, European Union, and California Air Resources Board specifications.

It has also partnered with Westport Innovations (NASDAQ: WPRT  ) to offer natural gas engines, and is in the process of building its own natural gas engine in-house.

There are two threats stemming from Cummins' significant investment in low-emissions technology. The first could be that different regulatory agencies don't put in place or enforce new environmental standards. The second is that the standards could start to deviate significantly – with the EPA requiring one thing, and the EU something entirely different. That would cause Cummins to spend even more of its resources on tailoring the engines, instead of ramping up production to a level of scale.

What's a Fool to do?
As it stands right now, I'm definitely holding my shares. Emerging markets may be a drag on Cummins stock for a while, but I have a decades-long timeline. While losing PACCAR would be a heavy hit, the two companies have been doing business for 68 years, and I don't see any news to make me think that relationship is coming to an end. And while I can't foresee how environmental regulations will play out, I'm confident with Cummins' market position in that respect.

The auto market is obviously hugely important to Cummins. China is already the world's largest auto market – and it's set to grow even bigger in coming years. A recent Motley Fool report, "2 Automakers to Buy for a Surging Chinese Market", names two global giants poised to reap big gains that could drive big rewards for investors. You can read this report right now for free – just click here for instant access.


Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 11:12 PM, wjcoffman wrote:

    If that's the worst risks, I'll take them.

    Different approach - how's it doing vs S&P500? Well, since I asked - bought shares in Sep 2011 and they're up 20%. Ooops, they're lagging S&P500 by about 14% over the same time frame. We'll see how the next 2 yrs go. Still a very cool stock to own - they make engines and one of their generators sits outside my bldg at work. Big tower of a machine and every once in a while they light it off. Tim Allen grunting ensues!!!

  • Report this Comment On June 06, 2013, at 11:19 PM, TMFCheesehead wrote:

    @wjcoffman-

    I agree, the risks are worth it. For what its worth, back up over the last 10 years and see how it's done vs. S&P.

    Brian Stoffel

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2013, at 1:25 PM, ScottishPete wrote:

    Trucking operators trust Cummins engines after decades of depending on them. The truck manufacturers are not going to risk that business, tending to follow the conservative "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" theory.

    Cummins diesels are familiar the world over, leading Cummin's fairly recent entry into the standby energy market to be so well received.

  • Report this Comment On June 19, 2013, at 7:20 AM, wjcoffman wrote:

    Brian,

    Checked my holdings and see that I bought CSCO the same day as CMI. Two different industries,yes. CSCO is up about 48% (13% vs S&P 500). I still think CMI is more fun to follow, but I'm a toolie. I'll keep them both for the long haul - long haul, Cummins makes diesel engines. It's early, I'm easily amused.....sorry.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 10:03 PM, hockeyplayer6627 wrote:

    Cummins has launched a memo saying that in the next year all north american "privately" owned Cummins distributors are going to be completely taken over by cummins factory by 2015... The cummins factory owns at least 51% of all branches so they can have final say. Now with factory owning all distributors it seems all the owners could be looking for new jobs

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