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By Jason Stipp | 01-26-2012 05:00 PM

Glasses Half Full

Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser examines the optimistic angle on manufacturing, Apple, J.C. Penney, AT&T, and more.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp from Morningstar, and welcome to the Friday Five. Here at Morningstar, we always like to look at all sides of a situation, and today Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser is here with five half-full glasses, I guess that would give us about 2 1/2 glasses of water. He is here to explain.

Jeremy, thanks for joining me.

Jeremy Glaser: Welcome, Jason.

Stipp: So what do you have for the Friday Five this week?

Glaser: Well, this week we're going to take a look at manufacturing, at Apple, at J.C. Penny, AT&T, and finally Roche.

Stipp: So I know manufacturing over the last year has had its ups and downs, it's been a little soft, it's gotten a little bit of momentum. Where are we right now? What's glass half full view of manufacturing?

Glaser: I think manufacturing is doing pretty well. We got a couple of different data points this week that I think point to a continued manufacturing recovery. Durable goods orders looked pretty good. The Chicago Fed came out and said that their National Index of Manufacturing Activity looks decent--the best recording that we've had in five months and also really across a broad swath of the things that the Fed measures.

And also we got results from some industrial companies like Caterpillar and 3M that look decent. Last quarter we were talking about some fears about inventory de-stocking, about the stronger dollar hurting export market, about the European woes that may be tampering demand down in that part of the world. But it doesn’t seem to be having an impact on the bottom-line yet. Those orders are still coming in; I think it's a good sign for the manufacturing community, and I think as that part of economy, that sector, continues to do well, it can help power the broader recovery.

Stipp: Jeremy, in earnings news, Apple reported another blowout quarter. This looks like a full glass to me. How is that glass potentially only half full?

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