You can rely on all of the aggregate data you want. Or you can rely on the aggregate data from Martin Marietta Materials (MLM), and what you realize is that we are in an actual boom in Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia.
You can then go to Dominion (D), the power company, and confirm that about North Carolina and throw in Maryland and Virginia.
These are areas where business is fantastic. Some of it is because state governments have money again to spend, and when state governments have money, they build and fix roads. Why not? Those are fan favorites: they put a lot of people to work and they stop breaking axles.
Both Florida and Texas right now have gigantic road-building budgets, some of the biggest ever, and they are spending like mad because there is so much work to do. Plus, MLM CEO Ward Nye has made it clear that non-residential construction in the Southeast is accelerating, and after that you will see the long-awaited comeback of residential construction.
I think that the economic activity in Dominion's area seems to be getting stronger by the day, in part because Dominion has the lowest cost power in the country. A combination of nuclear and nat gas plants has made it so customers like data centers, which use an immense amount of power but are indifferent about where they locate, keep building more and more facilities in Virginia. As we know from John Chambers, the data center industry may be the fastest growing in the world, and that's a terrific peg for Dominion to hang its hat on.
Now, why is this worth flushing out? Simple. Because the majority of the saturnine folks on Wall Street believe that the downturn in oil and gas is terrible for Martin Marietta Materials because it bought Texas Industries a couple of years ago, making Texas its plurality of business. But Nye made it very clear that the tailwind of cheap power is so much better for overall business than the tailwind of good oil and gas prices is for a handful of customers.
In fact, one of the reasons why I think he wanted to come on Mad Money was he knew that I was willing to accentuate the positive because it had the actual advantage of being true.
A power company and a materials company, both signaling boom times in their regions. Not good growth. But boom.
And with that, I will turn it over to the Fed watchers, who can tell me exactly how bad that bit of good news really is.