U.S. architecture billings index up in Feb – AIA

* Feb. architecture billings index up 2.3 pts to 44.8

* New project inquiries index dips

* Stimulus funding not yet awarded, slowing recovery

NEW YORK, March 24 (BestGrowthStock) – A leading indicator of U.S.
nonresidential construction spending recovered slightly but a
measure of future projects dipped in February, partly because a
,lot of stimulus financing for building projects has yet to be
awarded.

The Architecture Billings Index was up 2.3 points to 44.8
last month, according to the American Institute of Architects
(AIA). A measure of inquiries for new projects fell 0.5 points
to 52.0, after a 7-point drop in January.

“Funding dedicated for construction projects in the
stimulus package has not yet been awarded, resulting in a
bottleneck of potential projects that could help jumpstart the
economy,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker.

Private sector projects continue to face “a persistently
rigid credit market,” Baker added.

All four U.S. geographic regions were below 50 in billings
in January, with the Midwest highest at 49.4, as were all of
the four construction sectors. Billings for apartment buildings
dipped back below 50 after an uptick the prior month.

AIA’s other categories include institutional architecture,
commercial and industrial space, and the mixed-practice
category, which often combines retail with other uses.

The AIA’s billings index, begun in 1995, is considered a
measure of construction spending nine to 12 months in the
future.

Companies that sell to construction markets include
diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc (HON.N: ),
lighting maker Acuity Brands Inc (AYI.N: ), electrical components
maker Thomas & Betts Corp (TNB.N: ) and heating and cooling
systems makers Ingersoll-Rand Plc (IR.N: ) and Johnson Controls
Inc (JCI.N: ).

Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: ), Deere & Co (DE.N: ), Terex Corp
(TEX.N: ), Illinois Tool Works Inc (ITW.N: ), Parker-Hannifin Corp
(PH.N: ), Manitowoc Co (MTW.N: ), Oshkosh Corp (OSK.N: ) and Eaton
Corp (ETN.N: ) also derive revenues from this sector.

Growth Stocks
(Reporting by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

U.S. architecture billings index up in Feb – AIA