In May, the US economy remained stable. Growth was primarily driven from increased fixed investments, personal consumption expenditures and federal government spending. US inflation climbed to 2% in May, meeting the Federal Reserve’s target. The Fed also decided to maintain current interest rates, keeping the range between 1.5% to 1.75%. The Bureau of Economic Analysis updated its first quarter US GDP growth estimated, increasing it 2.2%.
US equity markets all surged in May, with the NASDAQ composite advancing the most, up 5.3% to 7,442.12. Year to date, the Index is up 7.8%. The S&P 500 also delivered solid growth, increasing 2.2%, 1.2% year to date, to close at 2,705.27. Following, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.0% for month, finishing at 24,415.84. However, the Dow is down 1.2% year to date.
Laboratory Instruments and Products Stock Index
The IBO Laboratory Instruments and Products Index advanced 0.9% for the month, driven by double-digit gains for Bio-Rad Laboratories, Illumina and QIAGEN. The Index finished the month at 358.39. NanoString Technologies’ share price grew the fastest, leaping 35.7% to close at $12.89. Conversely, Harvard Bioscience shares fell the most, dropping 23.5% to $4.40 for the month.
Luminex shares also increased significantly in May, vaulting 32.6% to $28.32. Other companies posting double-digit growth for the month included Bruker, Illumina, PerkinElmer and QIAGEN. Illumina shares rose 13.1%, finishing at $272.44. On May 29, Canaccord Genuity boosted the company’s target price from $270 to $290, while also leaving a “Top Pick” rating. QIAGEN’s share price advanced 11.0% to $36.31, supported by an upgraded price target from Citigroup. The investment banking titan set the stock’s price target at $35, a boost from its previous expectation of $31 a share. On May 4, Bank of America lowered Bruker’s price target, decreasing it from $37 to $34. However, for the month, the firm’s share price advanced 2.5%, closing at $30.27. On May 1, Morgan Stanley boosted PerkinElmer share prices up from $85 to $90. As such, PerkinElmer shares grew slightly during May, increasing 1.3% to $74.33.
Companies recording stock price declines this month and unfavorable ratings changes included Agilent Technologies, Bio-Techne and Mettler-Toledo. Agilent’s share price for the month fell 5.8% to $61.92 despite an upgraded “outperform” rating from the Cowen Group. Bio-Techne’s shares slid 0.4% to $150.32. On May 3, Deutsche Bank lowered the stock’s price target from $167 to $165. Mettler-Toledo’s share price for the month fell slightly, down 1.6% to close at $550.74. On May 4, Bank of America lowered the stock’s price target, decreasing it from $710 to $640. Similarly, on the same day, Deutsche Bank lowered their price target for the stock from $630 to $610.
Diversified Laboratory Stock Index
IBO’s Diversified Laboratory Stock Index increased 1.4% for the month to close at 260.58. Most of the companies in the Index finished positively with only Danaher and Xylem‘s shares decreasing, falling 1.0% and 3.4%, respectively. Teledyne Technologies’ shares advanced the most, increasing 7.7% to close at $201.46.
New ratings were given this month for AMETEK, Corning and Roper Technlogies. On May 3, Morgan Stanley boosted AMETEK’s stock price target by $3 to $79. Company shares delivered solid results for the month, increasing 4.6% to $73.03. On May 10, Guggenheim Securities set a “buy” rating, along with a $35 price target for Corning, for which share price climbed 0.6% to $27.17 for the month. Roper Technologies’ share price was steady during May, up 4.4% to close at $275.79. On May 22, JP Morgan Chase boosted the stock’s price target from $300 to $303.
International Stock Index
In the Asia Pacific region, the majority of indexes followed by IBO ended in the red for the month. Malaysia’s KLCI index fell the most, down 6.9% to close at 1,740.62. On the other hand, Taiwan’s TAIEX index grew the fastest, up 2.0% to 10,874.96.
Asia Pacific shares in the IBO Stock Table delivered mixed results, with JEOL‘s share price climbing the most, up 20.7% to ¥1,135.0 ($10.43 at ¥108.8 = $1) and Techcomp falling the most, down 5.1% to HKD 3.89 ($0.50 at HKD 7.8 = $1). Also climbing double digits was HORIBA, up 13.7% to close at ¥9,060.0 ($83.26).
European markets closed the month in similar fashion, with just the UK’s FTSE 100 finishing positive, up 2.2% to 7,678.20. Conversely, Italy’s FTSE MIB index fell 9.2%, closing the month at 21,784.18.
European shares in the IBO Stock Table finished mostly in positive territory. The two biggest gainers were Biotage and Horizon Discovery. Biotage’s share price advanced the most, up 16.9% to close at SEK 105.20 ($11.95 at SEK 8.8 = $1). Horizon Discovery’s shares grew 16.0%, finishing the month at £1.67 ($2.22 at £0.75 = $1).
Merck KGaA’s shares were up high single digits, increasing 7.9% to finish the month at €87.34 ($102.2 at €0.85 = $1). The company also announced a dividend increase of €0.05 ($0.06) amounting to €1.25 ($1.46) per share. Scientific Digital Imaging’s shares experienced the fastest decrease for the month, falling 2.5% to £0.40 ($0.53).