Housing Market Tracker - How Housing-Related Stocks are Faring

by: Judy Weil

Housing-Related Stocks

Tupperware VP Exercises Options. "The VP and chief technology officer of Tupperware Brands Corp. (NYSE:TUP), which makes plastic containers, exercised options for 6,000 shares of common stock, according to a SEC filing Tuesday. In a Form 4 filed with the SEC, Robert F. Wagner reported he exercised options for the shares on Monday for $18.56 apiece and then sold them all the same day for $36.80 to $36.86 apiece. Insiders file Form 4s with the SEC to report transactions in their companies' shares. Open market purchases and sales must be reported within two business days of the transaction." (Forbes, Feb. 6th)

HNI Earnings Rise on Wider Margins. "HNI Corp. (NYSE:HNI), an office furniture and fireplace manufacturer, said Wednesday Q4 earnings rose 23% due to improved margins and the lack of charges taken during Q4'06. Net Q4'07 income rose to $37.5 million, or $0.82/share, from $30.5M, or $0.63/share, during Q4'06. Q4'06 earnings included a $6M charge from discontinued operations. Removing that charge, earnings would have been $36.5M, or 3% less than Q4'07. Sales fell to $668.5M from $682.2M during Q4'06. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, on average, forecast earnings of $0.70/share for Q4 on sales of $673.7M." (Chron.com, Feb. 6th)

Digest: Lifetime Brands, Motorola, Tribune Broadcasting, Cablevision. "Lifetime Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:LCUT), which makes KitchenAid, Pfaltzgraff and Cuisinart products, said yesterday 2007 sales will miss company forecasts. The company... said the retail environment remains challenging. Lifetime expects sales to total $490M0$495 million, down from its November forecast of $500M-$515M. Analysts expected sales of $504M... Lifetime plans to report Q4'07 results next month. For 2008, Lifetime has forecast sales of $510M-$525M and profit of $0.86 - $1.06/share. The income target includes a charge of $0.19/share related to restructuring its direct-to-consumer business. Analysts expect profit of $1.24/share and sales of $534.3M. Wall Street estimates typically exclude one-time charges." (Newsday, Feb. 5th)

USG Corp.: A Very Interesting Pick Despite Earnings Call. "It really does not matter who is left standing among the builders when all this is over. No matter who it is, they will be buying wall board from (NYSE:USG)... Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) owns 17% of the stock... The outlook for 2008 is not really rosy. But, this is a management team that has never thrown out rosy scenarios to investors in an attempt to prop up a stock price... The stock has jumped from $31.05 to $38 (22%) and change since Jan. 7th... [I'd] sit and wait for now. I can't buy anything after a 2 week 20% plus run. If the stock were to give 1/2 that back, I would then become interested." (Todd Sullivan in Seeking Alpha, Feb. 5th)

Black & Decker's Philosophy: Power To The People. "The Black & Decker Corporation (BDK) is a global manufacturer and marketer of power tools and accessories, hardware, home improvement products, and fastening systems. Analysts expect BDK's recent restructuring to improve productivity and operating margins. In general, analysts are forecasting low-single-digit sales growth for 2008 and 2009, weighed down by the housing sector's doldrums. Meanwhile, BDK's fastening/assembly unit business should improve somewhat, offsetting housing's likely sub-par performance, and register mid-single-digit sales growth... The risks? Analysts are keeping an eye on BDK's core component/raw material costs. A sustained U.S. economic downturn would also, obviously, hurt BDK's results." (Blogging Stocks, Feb. 4th)

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