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HCN Stock Index surges Tuesday

BY HBSDEALER Staff

On a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a whopping 889 points, the HCN Stock Index on Tuesday surged 8 percent to finish at 678.30 points.

Eighteen of the 20 stocks on the HCN index showed growth, led by retail giants Sears Holdings, up 17.8 percent; Lowe’s up 16.5 percent; and Home Depot, up 14.1 percent. Other double-digit percentage gainers were Fastenal, up 13.6 percent; Louisiana Pacific, up 11.9 percent; and Tractor Supply, up 11.5 percent.

The two decliners on the index were USG Corp., down 15.9 percent, and BMHC, down 22.2 percent.

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Ace tops customer service survey

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware received the highest marks in customer service for the third quarter of 2008, according to RealPeopleRatings.com, a quarterly survey by Corporate Research International (CRI).

True Value ranked second in the survey; Lowe’s ranked third.

CRI, a market research firm specializing in mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys, sends the quarterly surveys as online opinion polls to its pool of panelists; 3,000 panelists participated in this quarter’s survey.

According to CRI, this survey emphasizes the importance of brand image and customer perception. Respondents were asked to rate their perception of each business’s customer service on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rating. If a respondent did not have experience with the business, the panelist did not enter a score for that establishment.

“It’s increasingly important in today’s marketplace for companies to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction to keep their customers coming back,” said Michael Mallett, CEO of Corporate Research International.

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Black & Decker earnings decline for Q3

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Towson, Md.-based Black & Decker reported net earnings of $85.8 million for the third quarter, down 18 percent from $104.6 million for the third quarter of 2007. Earnings reflect a $15.6 million pre-tax restructuring charge.

Sales for the quarter were $1.57 billion, down 4 percent from 1.63 billion in the year-ago period.

“Black & Decker generated solid earnings and cash flow in a very difficult business environment this quarter,” said Nolan D. Archibald, chairman and CEO. “Sales met our expectations despite weakening economic conditions in the U.S. and Western Europe. The actions we took earlier in the year to reduce costs helped our results this quarter, and we are taking additional steps in light of recent macroeconomic developments.”

In the company’s power tools and accessories, hardware and home improvement, and fastening and assembly systems segments, sales decreased 6 percent, 13 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

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