We noted earlier this morning that China’s National Development and Reform Commission has approved a plan to spend RMB1 trillion (about $158 billion) on infrastructure projects in an effort to boost growth in the country’s economy. A lot of investors have been waiting for the country to put the pedal to the metal again, but most were expecting some help in the form of more financial easing programs. Today’s announcement is a nice surprise because it puts money directly into the real economy.
Among the projects in the hopper, The Wall Street Journal reports, is a plan to add 246 kilometers of subway tracks and 138 new subway stations in the city of Xiamen and a 301-kilometer 4-lane highway in Xinjiang province. Investors see projects of this kind as a boon not only to Chinese industry, but also to certain sectors of U.S. stocks. In this case, U.S. coal miners are up sharply, while steelmakers and construction and farm equipment makers also are getting a boost from the big stimulus package.
Coal mining stocks are getting a boost, but remain near 52-week lows due to the incredible battering the shares have taken in the past year or so. Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) is up 8.8% at $23.28 in a 52-week range of $18.78 to $49.56.
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) is up 10.3% at $6.52 in a 52-week range of $5.28 to $32.28.
Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) is up 6.3% at $6.49 in a 52-week range of $5.16 to $20.83.
James River Coal Co. (NASDAQ: JRCC) is up 8% at $2.83 in a 52-week range of $1.68 to $11.52.
Steelmakers, another sector that has taken some lumps in the past year, are also seeing some nice gains today. United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) is up 6.6% at $20.48 in a 52-week range of $17.67 to $32.52.
Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) is up 2.4% at $39.02 in a 52-week range of $29.82 to $45.75.
ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT) is up 5.7% at $15.82 in a 52-week range of $13.28 to $23.62.
AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) is up 7.5% at $5.77 in a 52-week range of $4.44 to $10.33.
Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD) is up 4% at $12.42 in a 52-week range of $8.78 to $16.66.
Construction and farm equipment makers are also moving higher. Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is up 3.8% at $87.97 in a 52-week range of $67.54 to $116.95.
Joy Global Inc. (NYSE: JOY) is up 6.3% at $56.42 in a 52-week range of $47.69 to $96.00.
Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) is up 2% at $78.65 in a 52-week range of $59.92 to $89.70.