From Klein, an adjustable-length screwdriver
Lincolnshire, Illinois-based Klein Tools for introduced an adjustable-length screwdriver, featuring a shaft that adjusts anywhere from 4 ins. to 8 ins. in length.
The shaft is removable and reversible with a different tip on each end — a #2 Phillips and quarter-inch slotted. The made-in-USA adjustable-length screwdriver also features a proprietary system that securely holds blade in place — as durable as a traditional Klein fixed blade screwdriver, according to the company.
“Klein is constantly researching and identifying ways to make the electrician’s job easier,” said David Bower, associate product manager at Klein Tools. “We created a screwdriver that easily adjusts to multiple lengths and provides different bit tips to minimize the number of tools needed to get the job done — all with the same durability of a traditional Klein fixed blade screwdriver.”
Consumer confidence takes a big hit in July
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index dropped sharply in July — by nearly 9 full points.
The Index currently reads 90.9, down from a downwardly revised 99.8 in June. That's the lowest it's been since last September.
The Present Situation Index decreased less sharply, however, from 110.3 to 107.4 in July.
The biggest decrease occurred on the side of the Expectations Index, which dropped from 92.8 to 79.9.
“Consumer confidence declined sharply in July, following a gain in June," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers continue to assess current conditions favorably, but their short-term expectations deteriorated this month. A less optimistic outlook for the labor market, and perhaps the uncertainty and volatility in financial markets prompted by the situation in Greece and China, appears to have shaken consumers’ confidence. Overall, the Index remains at levels associated with an expanding economy and a relatively confident consumer.”
As far as current conditions go, there was a 1.9% decrease in those saying business conditions are “good." However, those claiming business conditions are “bad” was virtually unchanged at 17.9%.
Views toward the current job market were also slightly more dire, with a 0.6% decrease in those claiming jobs are "plentiful" and a 0.6% increase in those saying they're "hard to get."
There was significant downward movement in those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months (from 17.9% to 14.7%), while those expecting business conditions to worsen rose slightly from 10.2% to 10.7%.
Those anticipating more jobs ahead decreased from 17.1% to 13.1%, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 15.2% to 20.0%.
Consumers were slightly less shaken in their expectations for near-term income growth, though that number decreased 0.6%. Those expecting a decline increased slightly from 10.6% to 11.2%.
Masco beats expectations in Q2
Masco Corporation posted modest sales growth in the second quarter, though the company stock rose more than 11% at press time on exceeded expectations.
“Continued growth momentum, solid execution, and the timing of paint promotions enabled us to achieve earnings above our expectations for the quarter,” said Masco’s president and CEO Keith Allman. “Importantly, our Cabinets and Related Products segment accelerated the pace of its turnaround, resulting in better than expected top and bottom line results for that segment. In addition to our strong sales and profit growth, we returned nearly $270 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases in the first half of 2015.”
Sales for the quarter were up 3% to $1.9 billion, or 7% excluding the effects of foreign currency translation.
Regionally, sales performed better: an increase of 7% in North America, as well as 5% in International sales in local currency. In U.S. dollars, International sales decreased 10%.
Net income came in at $105 million, down from the previous year's $139 million.
However, a 14.5% adjusted operating profit margin — a 22% increase — came from strong performance from all segments.
Additionally, the tax-free spin-off of TopBuild Corp. was completed on June 30, with Masco receiving a $200 million cash distribution.
The company's board of directors also increased the annual dividend by $0.02 per share to $0.38 beginning with the quarterly dividend to be paid in the fourth quarter of 2015.
“Masco has delivered a strong first half of the year and we are proud of our focus and execution,” said Allman. “With the completion of the spin-off of TopBuild Corp., we begin a new chapter in Masco’s history focused on driving shareholder value through our portfolio of industry-leading branded building products, operational excellence and disciplined capital allocation. Our Cabinetry business has returned to profitability and we expect the momentum it has built over the first half of the year to continue. For the balance of 2015, we believe the underlying demand for our market-leading products will increase and that the repair and remodeling environment will continue to improve."