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Do it Best market begins in Indianapolis

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Do it Best October Market kicked off Oct. 10 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

First-day activities include a series of educational conferences on topics ranging from “Successful Home Decor Trends for 2008” to “Growing Your Remodeling Business with Hard Surface Flooring Products.”

The second day of market includes a keynote address by Lee Carpenter of Interbrand Design Forum, who will be speaking on retail industry trends. There will also be a special exhibit area on outdoor living.

On Oct. 12, members are invited to attend President and CEO Bob Taylor’s keynote address and the annual shareholders’ meeting, which will be followed by the members’ rebate distribution.

The market runs through Oct. 14.

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HCN Stock Index Drops 6.1 percent

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The HCN Stock Index sank again on Thursday, falling 6.1 percent to 719.59. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial average dropped 679 points, or 5.47 percent, to finish Thursday at 8,579 – its lowest point since May of 2003.

Of the 20 stocks in the HCN index, 18 showed declines for the day, including a 5.86 percent decline at Home Depot, and a 4.55 percent drop at Lowe’s. Bluelinx Holdings was one bright spot – up 53 cents to $4.35. The other gainer was BMHC, up 3 cents to $0.77.

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Pending home sales show surprising jump

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The index of pending home sales, an indicator measuring the number of contracts signed in August, showed surprising strength, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The index rose 7.4 percent to 93.4 from an upwardly revised reading of 87.0 in July, and is 8.8 percent higher than August 2007 when it stood at 85.8. The index is at the highest level since June 2007 when it stood at 101.4.

“What we’re seeing is the momentum of people taking advantage of low home prices, with pending home sales up strongly in California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Rhode Island and the Washington, D.C., region,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

The index in the West surged 18.4 percent to 109.5 in August and remains 37.8 percent above a year ago.

In the Northeast the index jumped 8.4 percent to 79.8 and is 2.0 percent higher than August 2007.

The index in the Midwest rose 3.6 percent to 84.5 in August and is 6.6 percent above a year ago.

In the South, the index increased 2.3 percent to 96.0 but is 2.1 percent below August 2007.

Yun notes the unusual timing of contract activity in August. “Home buyers in July were hampered by overly stringent lending criteria in the months before the government takeover of Fannie and Freddie,” he said. “August shows some unleashing of pent-up demand before the credit crisis accelerated in September.”

He cautioned that the sampling size for pending home sales is smaller than the track on existing-home sales, so there is more volatility in the forward-looking series. “We need to see just how much of this gain holds up,” Yun added.

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