Cabinet maker American Woodmark reports 3Q profit

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WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) — Cabinet maker American Woodmark Corp. reported fiscal third-quarter net income well ahead of Wall Street expectations, buoyed by the continuing recovery of the housing market.

The Winchester, Va.-based company, which makes kitchen cabinets and vanities for new homes and remodeling, said Tuesday it earned $2.1 million, or 14 cents per share, for the three months ended Jan. 31. That's compared with a loss of $9.1 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago.

Stripping out restructuring charges, its adjusted profit also was 14 cents per share, beating analyst estimates of 5 cents per share.

Revenue rose 26 percent to $151.3 million, as the company experienced gains in each of its sales channels, led by new construction sales growth of more than 50 percent. Analysts polled by FactSet expected revenue of $140.3 million.

American Woodmark's shares rose $3.29, or more than 10 percent, to $35.04 in morning trading Tuesday.

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders reached a 6 1/2-year high in January, but slipped this month as many builders reported less traffic by prospective customers before the critical spring home-buying season. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index fell one point to 46 from 47, the first monthly decline in the index since April.

Readings below 50 suggest negative sentiment about the housing market. The index last reached that level in April 2006. It began trending higher in October 2011, when it was 17.

While measures of traffic by prospective customers and current sales conditions both declined from January's reading, builders' outlook of sales in the next six months improved.

"Recent trends suggest that housing has finally emerged from its long, multiyear downturn," American Woodmark CFO Jonathan Wolk said in a conference call with investors. "However, consumer confidence and macroeconomic conditions remain uncertain and difficult to predict, and many consumers remain unwilling or unable to make large-ticket purchases because of lower home prices, availability of credit or because they simply lack confidence."

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

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