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Expect the process and industrial products sector to "Hunker down" in 2009, as manufacturing companies focus on right-sizing, managing costs and working capital, and taking additional steps to weather a rapidly deteriorating global economy. The U.S. process and industrial products sector includes chemicals, metals, and paper and packaging companies as well as industrial products and services manufacturers. The sector weathered 2008's economic slowdown fairly well, thanks, at least in part, to exports that offset lower domestic demand. However, recently released economic data suggests that the manufacturing climate is clearly weakening. Heightening the concern is a financing and credit environment that is currently in turmoil.
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