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Commercial truck demand continued to recover in February, but orders for new heavy-duty trucks last month were the lowest in four months.
February orders in North America more than tripled from a year earlier to 24,300 trucks, according to preliminary data from Indiana-based industry forecaster ACT Research. But February's order volume was down 11% from January and was below the monthly average of 26,200 trucks for November through February.
The February dropoff wasn't surprising after some truck buyers moved up their purchases to late last year to take advantage of a federal program for accelerated tax depreciation on new equipment purchases. Higher prices for 2011 models also prompted some truck buyers to order a 2010 model instead.
ACT Research expects production of heavy-duty trucks in North America to reach 244,000 units this year, up 58% from 2010. The truck industry is emerging from unprecedented slump that began in 2007 and was prolonged by the U.S. economic recession.
Stocks for truck and engine manufacturers closed mixed Wednesday. Engine maker Cummins Inc (CMI) ended the regular trading session up 0.38%, or 38 cents, at $100.30 a share. Truck maker Navistar International Corp. (NAV) closed down 0.23%, or 14 cents, at $59.80. Paccar Inc (PCAR), maker of Peterbilt and Kenworth brand trucks, finished down 0.22%, or 11 cents, at $48.88 a share; and Oshkosh (OSK) closed up 11%, or 4 cents, at $35.15 a share.
-By Bob Tita, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-750-4129; firstname.lastname@example.org