7 Manufacturing Trends You Must Watch in 2014

Here's what's in store for manufacturing in the year ahead.

Jan 14, 2014 at 6:00PM

After a remarkable recovery from the depths of the recession, the manufacturing sector continues to thrive in America. Recent data shows that the U.S. trade deficit sank to its lowest level in four years in November. Meanwhile, industrial stocks have climbed 183% over the past five years, and experts believe (link opens a PDF) that manufacturing will fully recover to pre-recession levels by the end of 2014.

For investors in the manufacturers, the future looks bright. And even more so when you consider what lies ahead for specific companies:

  • The backlog for airplane manufacturer Boeing (NYSE:BA) stands at 5,080 planes worth more than $400 billion. At its French rival Airbus, those numbers reached 5,559 aircraft, or the equivalent of nine years' worth of production.
  • General Electric (NYSE:GE) rolled out 14 new products in 2013 related to the "industrial Internet," a technology it believes could "lift growth back to levels not seen since the late 1990s."
  • Honeywell (NYSE:HON), a leading global maker of automotive turbochargers that increase fuel efficiency, believes the turbocharger market will grow 67% in the next five years.

To be sure, high expectations can leave investors disappointed when manufacturers hit a bump in the road. Automaker Ford's (NYSE:F) sales last month were a case in point. Still, its sales seem to be headed in the right direction for the year ahead.

In the following presentation, industrials analyst Isaac Pino highlights the most important manufacturing trends -- both positive and negative -- that investors should watch for in 2014.

One must-own stock in 2014
As the manufacturing sector explores the potential of the industrial Internet, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has identified a company poised to profit from this futuristic concept. He calls this company "the hidden winner behind the 'Internet of Everything'." It beat out hundreds of companies as our No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's identified in this special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Isaac Pino, CPA owns shares of General Electric. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Ford. It also owns shares of General Electric. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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