Consumer confidence soars to 90.9
Consumer confidence pushed ahead to a new post-recession high of 90.9 in July, its highest level since October 2007, The Conference Board reported this morning.
July’s figure is also in comparison with an upwardly revised figure of 86.4 in June, where the previous post-recession high had stood.
“Consumer confidence increased for the third consecutive month and is now at its highest level since October 2007 (95.2)," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for The Conference Board. "Strong job growth helped boost consumers’ assessment of current conditions, while brighter short-term outlooks for the economy and jobs, and to a lesser extent personal income, drove the gain in expectations. Recent improvements in consumer confidence, in particular expectations, suggest the recent strengthening in growth is likely to continue into the second half of this year.”
As Franco alluded to, the Present Situation Index increased to 88.3 from 86.3, even though fewer consumers described business conditions as "good." Those saying jobs were "plentiful" increased to 15.9% from 14.6%, as those claiming they were "hard to get" remained virtually unchanged at 30.7%.
Meanwhile, the Expectations Index enjoyed the bulk of the progress, up to 92.7 from 86.4. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 20.2% from 18.4%, with little change in the number of respondents expecting them to worsen. Those expecting more jobs in the near future also jumped by 2.8%, with a corresponding 2.0% decrease in those expecting fewer jobs. Additionally, a slightly larger number of consumers expect their incomes to grow.
Stock Building Supply pushes ahead in Q2
Shares of Stock Building Supply were up Tuesday morning following the release of its second-quarter earnings report, which pointed to steady growth for the distributor.
Net sales for the three months ended June 30 were $344.6 million, up 9.5% from $314.7 million in the year-ago period.
Net income jumped to $5.6 million from $2.0 million in 2013, while operating income got a similarly significant boost to $8.9 million (compared with $3.9 million).
"During the second quarter, we continued to grow at above-market rates with overall sales volume increasing approximately 13% and gross profit dollars increasing 15%," said president and CEO Jeff Rea. "While U.S. single-family housing starts increased only 1.2% in the first half of 2014 compared with the prior-year period, our sales and service professionals delivered double-digit growth during this time period in key product categories, such as structural components, millwork and interior products and windows and exterior products."
Rea added that sales to remodeling contractors jumped approximately 13%, and the company made significant expansions to its structural component capacity in North Carolina and Utah, as well as opened a new distribution and customer support facility in North Charlottte.
Masco reports Q2 sales increase
Taylor, Michigan-based Masco announced that adjusted operating profit grew by 21% in its second quarter.
Net sales from continuing operations rose 5% to $2.3 billion, up from $2.1 billion for the second quarter of 2013. North American sales increased 4%, and international sales increased 9% in U.S. dollars.
Plumbing products` net sales increased 6%, decorative architectural products` net sales increased 5%, cabinets and related products` net sales decreased 5%, installation and other services` net sales increased 8%, and other specialty products` net sales increased 11%.
"We delivered a solid second quarter marked by revenue growth and strong profitability," said Masco president and CEO, Keith Allman. "Our focus on our key priorities, which include growing share of our market-leading brands, accelerating our customer-focused innovation pipeline, further penetrating international markets and driving operational leverage through cost containment, was demonstrated in our performance despite a more moderate housing recovery.
"As we move into the third quarter, we continue to see growing demand for our products and services across our end markets. Our outlook remains positive with the belief that new home construction and repair and remodel activity will show steady growth in 2014,” he added. We believe we are well positioned to grow our key brands and to gain market share in this environment.