American Woodmark 3Q profit jumps on higher sales

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News,Business

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — American Woodmark's third-quarter profit jumped 41 percent as the cabinet maker continued to benefit from new home construction and remodeling.

But its results missed Wall Street expectations, sending shares down more than 11 percent in midday trading Tuesday.

Like other companies with exposure to the housing market, American Woodmark Corp. is getting a lift from the housing market's ongoing recovery.

While the housing market has been recovering steadily over the past year, a rise in mortgage rates from record lows reached a year ago have started to weigh on those gains.

Storms and cold weather this month dampened U.S. homebuilders' outlook for sales ahead of the spring home-selling season and could further slow the pace of home construction.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index slid to 46, down from January's reading of 56 and is the lowest level since May. Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view sales conditions as poor rather than good.

Builders' view of current sales conditions for single-family homes, their outlook for sales over the next six months and traffic by prospective buyers have all declined since January.

Economists predict that U.S. sales of new homes fell last month.

Winchester, Va.-based American Woodmark said it earned $2.9 million, or 18 cents per share, for the period ended Jan. 31, up from $2.1 million, or 14 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $169 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 29 cents per share on revenue of $169.4 million.

Its shares fell $4.18, or 11.5 percent, to $32.18 in midday trading.

American Woodmark operates nine manufacturing plants in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. It also has nine service centers.

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum .

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