Integrated as it is with both the home construction market as well as the floundering home improvement market, Masco Corp.'s earnings report Tuesday July 29 isn't expected to be much prettier than those of the production home builders scheduled this week.
Still, the supplier of services and products to builders and home owners, unencumbered with the level of land impairment burdens builders are laboring under, is at least expected to make a modest profit, according to analysts.
Pali Capital Advisors analyst Stephen East is predicting sales to be down 16% and earnings at about 19 cents a share, down 65% for the quarter ending June 30.
But some sections of the highly diversified, highly vertically integrated company are clearly struggling more.
"The contractor services piece is what is putting this company through misery," said Stephen East of Pali Capital Advisors. East is forecasting that part of the business to be down 28% or more, with earnings at break-even or worse.
The other hot spots for the company will be the cabinets division and other specialty businesses, including windows, East said.
None of that is unexpected considering all of those businesses would be impacted by the severe contraction of the new-home-building business as well as the effects of a slowdown in home-improvement activity. Masco is quite married to Home Depot, with 20% of its 2007 business coming by way of that merchant, which has reported slower sales.
It's possible the company, which has overseas operations as well, will take nasty hits because of the building slowdown that has migrated across the Atlantic to Great Britain as well as the weak dollar.
Masco has been aggressively reviewing the viability of all aspects of its business. By the end of the March 31 quarter, it had shuttered 11 plants and cut jobs by 15,000, 25% of its North American operations, and reduced the number of its installation branches by more than 20%.
Tuesday's results are likely to show further reductions and include the impact of higher costs of fuel as well as materials, such as metals used in some of the company's products, including faucets.