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Look for business to improve, says analyst Saul Ludwig

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"Shipments of consumer replacement tires from manufacturers to dealers during January and February were off 7%, so despite several announced April price increases, dealers don’t seem inclined to stock up," reports tire industry analyst Saul Ludwig in Modern Tire Dealer magazine's April "Ludwig Report."

Ludwig, a managing director with KeyBanc Capital Markets, a division of McDonald Investments Inc. based in Cleveland, Ohio, notes, "Many dealers report they are 'long' on inventories as retail sales have been sluggish so far this year. Little snow in snow-belt regions could be an explanation.

"I expect the industry to have a relatively soft first half of 2006 but to come back strong in the second half of the year.

"The U.S. manufacturers will probably not have good earnings reports in 1Q06. But gasoline prices appear to have stabilized and the economy remains buoyant, so don’t panic; business will improve."

You can find Ludwig's analysis and national survey results in each issue of Modern Tire Dealer.

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