Residential construction falls in April
Data released by the Commerce Department this morning showed housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 523,000 — down 10.6% compared with the upwardly revised March figure of 574,000.
Single-family starts were at a rate of 394,000, down 5.1% from the revised March figure of 415,000.
Compared with the same month last year, total housing starts fell 23.9%, while single-family starts plunged 30%.
Building permits also showed declines in the Tuesday morning report on residential construction. Permits were at a rate of 551,000 in April, down 4.0% from March and down 12.8% from April 2010.
Home Depot boosts earnings 12% in first quarter
Atlanta-based Home Depot reported first-quarter earnings of $812 million, up 12.0% from earnings of $725 million in the first quarter last year.
Sales declined 0.2% to $16.8 billion, while comparable-store sales were negative 0.6%. Comp-store sales for stores in the United States were negative 0.7%.
"We continued to improve our business and delivered double-digit earnings growth," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. "Our sales declined slightly due to a slow spring selling season, but for the year we expect sales to grow in line with the guidance we previously provided."
Home Depot said it expects fiscal 2011 sales will be up approximately 2.5% from fiscal 2010. Based on its year-to-date performance, the company raised its fiscal 2011 diluted earnings-per-share guidance and now expects diluted earnings per share to be up approximately 11.4% to $2.24 for the year.
Home Depot’s first-quarter report followed by one day Lowe’s first-quarter report, in which Lowe’s said comps were down 3.3% and earnings were down 5.7%.
Philips unveils EnduraLED A21 17-watt bulb
Philips Electronics will unveil the Philips EnduraLED A21 17-watt light bulb today at the Lightfair International trade show.
Designed to replace a 75-watt incandescent bulb, while reducing energy consumption by 80% and lasting 25 times longer, the Philips EnduraLED A21 17-watt marks another important milestone in LED lighting technology for everyday use, the company said.
"Once again we have demonstrated that consumers do not have to wait for quality alternatives to the incandescent or to sacrifice the soft white light they have become accustomed to, because LED can deliver all the benefits without compromising quality," said Ed Crawford, general manager of lamps for Philips Lighting North America.
The EnduraLED A21 17-watt is the latest addition in Philips’ portfolio of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that can efficiently replace traditional incandescents. These include 25W and 40W equivalents, as well as the Energy Star-qualified Philips EnduraLED 12.5-watt bulb, the world’s first commercially available 60-watt replacement.
Philips estimates that about 90 million 75-watt incandescent light bulbs are sold annually in the United States. Switching to this LED replacement has the potential to reduce energy use by 5,220 megawatts of electricity, a cost savings of approximately $630 million annually. According to Philips estimates, switching to the EnduraLED 21 17-watt could also eliminate 3,255,205 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, or the equivalent of removing nearly 1 million cars from the road.
Available during the fourth quarter of 2011 in the United States, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for consumers has not yet been finalized but is expected to be in the range of $40 to $45.