* February ABI 51.0 vs. 50.9
* Inquiries index 63.4, up 2.2 pts
* Cautious clients, scarce financing are obstacles to
March 21 A leading indicator of U.S.
construction activity edged higher in February to mark its
fourth straight month at a level that suggests a coming
recovery, but obstacles to a faster revival remain in place
The Architecture Billings Index rose to 51.0 in February,
from 50.9 the previous month, indicating a slight increase in
demand for design services, according to report issued on
Wednesday by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Any
measure above 50 indicates expansion and stronger construction
activity nine to 12 months ahead.
A separate index of project inquiries rose to 63.4, from
61.2 the prior month, its highest level since July 2007. Since a
developer can contact multiple architects for a single project,
this measure is often higher than the billings index.
The AIA said clients remain cautious about breaking ground
on new projects, and construction financing remains scarce for
developers who are willing to pursue projects.
Most diversified industrial companies derive a portion of
their sales from nonresidential construction such as office
buildings, and retail and warehouse space, though sales of
building components or construction equipment.
Companies exposed to the sector include Honeywell
International Inc, Tyco International Ltd,
Ingersoll Rand Plc, Eaton Corp, Caterpillar Inc
, Deere & Co and Terex Corp.
European companies such as Siemens AG, Schneider
Electric SA and lock maker Assa Abloy are
also active in the sector.