Perhaps some sanity is returning to Wall Street. Entering the last week in April, the tire and rubber group was the biggest-gaining stock collection for the month among Dow Jones industry groups. Since March 31, tire and rubber stocks rose 21.7 percent, joining auto makers, automotive parts manufacturers and footwear companies among the list of top performers. Technology stock groups dominated the list of worst performers, mirroring the mostly bear-like path the Nasdaq exchange has taken the past six weeks.
Hopefully this is a sign the economic community is investing again in reputable manufacturers whose products historically have driven this country's economy. Or maybe it's just a sign that manufacturing companies are getting better at the Wall Street game: If your earnings meet analysts' estimates, tell the world about it, and your stock will rise.
It's no wonder former Goodyear Chairman Robert E. Mercer liked to call Wall Street the country's "biggest off-track betting facility." He said it's a misnomer that those putting money into Wall Street are "investing in America."
In a perfect world, the former Goodyear executive said, a company should serve its constituencies in this order: customers, employees, suppliers, government entities and shareholders. His philosophy was that when a firm handled the first four constituencies the shareholders would make out like bandits.
Now if public companies were allowed to operate in that manner without fear of penalty from Wall Street, that truly would bring sanity back to the investment community. But don't count on it. As one analyst told Mercer: "It's no wonder you got raided."