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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 27, 2011

*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.

Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.  

LUMBER: Following the Canadian holiday, enough buying took place for SPF mills to firm prices. Wholesalers continued to cover shorts and yards stepped in to add to the moderate demand. Southern Pine mills were forced to give ground in a competitively priced market. Discounts were most often in a range of a few to $5, with deeper discounts occasional used to move buildups. Increased Coastal species sales and recent cutbacks in production helped push dry prices $5 in some instances, particularly in white woods. California buyers increased their participation in the green Doug Fir market moderately. Inland species saw some improved activity on Thursday, but not enough to call the market greatly improved. The action did provide producers with evidence enough to firm prices. Ponderosa Pine 5/4 Mldg&Btr ranges in price from $1,355 to $1,365, with 6/4 showing a range of $1,400 to $1,405. A $10 spread can be found in most Shop items, as some producers advance their prices and others hold back on increases. Production levels of western boards has increased as mills get new decks of Ponderosa Pine logs and begin cutting them in order to avoid stain. Demand has not expanded in concert with the increase. Idaho White Pine also lacks any strong market backing at this point, but prices have not weakened. Prices of Eastern White Pine boards are basically stable. Questions have arisen with regard to Radiata Pine, from both New Zealand and Chile. Attempts on the part of Western Red Cedar producers to raise prices for profitability and not in response to market influences remained largely unsuccessful.

PANELS: Discounts were used to sell moderate volumes of Western Fir plywood. Declining log and veneer costs seemed to give mills more room to edge prices lower in search of sales. Another week of slow sales in the Southern Pine plywood market forced mills to offer a range of discounts to move rated sheathing volumes. Quotes were often lowered $5 to $10 with scattered discounts of $15 to $20 below those lowered quotes. OSB prices are at nominal bottoms, further discounts giving little incentive to buyers in most areas. In the face of mediocre Canadian plywood demand, but also in recognition of the fact that some producers have secured gains of 3% on very slight volumes, the baseline for the coming week is being reported at an unchanged C$296. It appears that particleboard and MDF prices have begun to move in concert with increased expenses, at least in both the Inland and Southern production regions.

Source: RISI’s Crow’s Weekly Market Report

For more on RISI, click here.

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More solar panels slated for IKEA stores

BY HBSDEALER Staff

IKEA plans to install solar PV systems on six more of its locations in the Eastern United States, the company announced.

The installations are expected to begin in late spring with completion later this fall, provided the projects receive governmental permits.

The company recently plugged in a solar project in Colorado.

“We are excited to continue investing in renewable energy projects, reducing our carbon footprint, and improving the lives of the many people,” said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S. president.  “Adding solar energy to more U.S. locations is consistent with our commitment to sustainable building practices, so we are thrilled our evaluation determined these projects to be feasible for IKEA.  We are open to considering other opportunities and technologies too.”

IKEA will install panels at its Baltimore and College Park, Md., stores as well as atop the Cincinnati-area store in West Chester, Ohio. Similarly, the two Philadelphia-area IKEA stores – in Conshohocken,  and Philadelphia, – also will be receiving solar panels, as will be the IKEA North America Service Office – in Conshohocken.

Collectively, the six buildings will total 5.076 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, more than 22,000 panels, and an annual output of 6.39 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually.

 

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At shareholders meeting, Lowe’s embraces change

BY HBSDEALER Staff

At its annual meeting, Lowe’s chairman and CEO Robert A. Niblock continued to hammer on the theme of transformation at the nation’s second-largest home center chain.

“Making home improvement simple for customers starts with making it simple for our employees by providing them with the right technology and resources,” said Niblock. “Throughout our 65-year history, Lowe’s has changed many times. To be successful in the future, we must transform the shopping experience for customers wherever and however they choose to shop with Lowe’s.”

He told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Friday how the company plans to transform Lowe’s from a home improvement retailer to a home improvement company.

Niblock said Lowe’s continues to deliver on its promise of great value, products and services by implementing operational programs to enhance the customer experience, even in a market overshadowed by uncertainty.

At the meeting, the Lowe’s board declared a 27% increase in its quarterly cash dividend to fourteen cents ($0.14) per share, payable Aug. 3, 2011, to shareholders of record as of July 20, 2011. The company declared a cash dividend each quarter since going public in 1961. Also at the meeting, shareholder proposals regarding executive severance, linking pay to performance on sustainability goals and political spending were defeated.

Larry D. Stone, who will retire as president and COO June 2 after 42 years with the company, said the next chapter for Lowe’s is well under way to make the organization an even stronger company in the industry.

“Change has always been a part of Lowe’s culture, and throughout our history we’ve changed the company to meet the evolving needs of customers,” said Stone. “The next chapter of transformational change for Lowe’s will enable our employees to enhance the customer experience and make shopping for home improvement a seamless process.”

Lowe’s plans to open approximately 25 stores this year. Niblock told shareholders the company is focused on long-term growth driven by enhanced customer-focused experiences.

During the meeting, shareholders re-elected board members Raul Alvarez, David W. Bernauer, Leonard L. Berry, Peter C. Browning, Dawn E. Hudson, Robert L. Johnson, Robert A. Niblock, Marshall O. Larsen, Richard K. Lochridge and Stephen F. Page to one-year terms.

Shareholders also ratified Deloitte & Touche as the company’s independent public accountant and approved Lowe’s 2011 Annual Incentive Plan. 

“As Lowe’s celebrates its 50th anniversary as a public company, we remain focused on building our company for the future while taking advantage of near-term opportunities that continue to drive value for shareholders,” CFO Robert F. Hull Jr. told shareholders. “While the macro environment continues on the path to recovery, Lowe’s balance sheet and financial position remain strong, generating higher cash flow and returning more capital to shareholders through increased dividends and share repurchases.”

 

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May-30-2011 09:44 am

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