Slight increase in Q1 sales for USG
USG Corp. reported net sales of $721 million for its first fiscal quarter, compared with $716 million during the same quarter of 2010, a 0.7% increase. Net loss for the building products company for the quarter, which ended March 31, was $105 million, compared with $110 million in the first quarter of 2010. Operating losses were reported at $58 million, compared with $82 million a year ago.
"We are seeing signs of stabilization in U.S. commercial construction and positive trends in the repair and remodel segment, but the new residential construction market remains weak," said James Metcalf, USG’s president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "The long-term fundamentals that drive our business remain very solid. As demand improves we will benefit from the operating leverage inherent in both our manufacturing and distribution businesses."
USG Corp. is a manufacturer and distributor of wall, ceiling, flooring and ceiling products and systems through its United States Gypsum Co., USG Interiors, Inc., L&W Supply Corp. and other subsidiaries. Headquartered in Chicago, USG’s worldwide operations serve the residential and non-residential construction markets, repair and remodel construction markets, and industrial processes.
Sales rise at Temple-Inland
Wood products producer Temple-Inland reported sales of $174 million in the building products division during its first fiscal quarter of 2011, a 13.7% rise over sales of $153 million during the same quarter of 2010.
Net loss for the division was $6 million during the first quarter, narrowing from a $9 million loss in the first fiscal quarter of 2010 and a $15 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The year-over-year improvement was credited to higher volumes and lower unit costs, which more than offset lower lumber prices, according to a company statement. Improvements in the building products operating results during the first quarter of 2011 compared with the fourth quarter of 2010 were due to higher lumber prices and seasonally higher volumes for all products.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Temple-Inland produces lumber, gypsum board, particleboard, Medium Density Fiberboard, fiberboard and other building products, in addition to paper and packaging products.
March sees increase in existing-home sales
Existing-home sales in March increased 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported this morning.
February’s sales estimate was revised upwards from 4.88 million to 4.92 million. March’s estimate is 6.3% below March 2010, when existing-home sales were at a pace of 5.44 million.
The month-to-month increase is a pattern the NAR expects to continue. “Existing-home sales have risen in six of the past eight months, so we’re clearly on a recovery path,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “With rising jobs and excellent affordability conditions, we project moderate improvements into 2012, but not every month will show a gain — primarily because some buyers are finding it too difficult to obtain a mortgage. For those fortunate enough to qualify for financing, monthly mortgage payments as a percent of income have been at record lows.”
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $159,600 in March, down 5.9% from March 2010. Distressed homes — typically sold at discounts in the vicinity of 20% — accounted for a 40% market share in March, up from 39% in February and 35% in March 2010.
“Although home sales are coming back without a federal stimulus, sales would be notably stronger if mortgage lending would return to the normal, safe standards that were in place a decade ago — before the loose lending practices that created the unprecedented boom and bust cycle,” Yun said.