Truck bankruptcies near record low

Bear Stearns’ seasonally adjusted bankruptcy index increased modestly to 44 in March 2006 from 43 the month before, but improved 73% from 160 in March 2005.

Trucker filings spiked in the weeks leading up to the new Oct. 17 bankruptcy regulations, then dropped off materially after more restrictive bankruptcy laws took effect. In contrast, filings were generally unchanged after diesel prices dropped 18% toward mid-November.

“Low trucker bankruptcies typically drive strength in Class 8 orders and retail sales,” Bear Stearns said in a release. “However, with only a little more than 300 production slots for 2006 left before the pre-2007 trucks sell out, we continue to believe that industry orders will roll over by mid-May. We would continue to book profits on the Class 8 stocks into near-term order strength.”

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