Again, another report is out that has deflated the balloons of those who think the U.S.economy is on some sort of robust upswing. There exists the weekly optimistic hullabaloo touting growth and the better numbers that are sure to come in a host of sectors. The reality is a “reality check” for those unwilling to face what’s really going on in the economy.
June’s housing starts
The housing report for June came out on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. It wasn’t so good despite predictions it would be. June’s housing starts dropped 9.9% to an annualized rate of 836,000. This drop is significantly below analysts’ expectations. It shouldn’t have been as I alluded to in my earlier blog post “Investors: Who Do You Believe?”
How will the drop in housing starts and other slower or downgraded growth numbers affect corporations you may want to invest in that rely on a robust housing market)?
Consider Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL) . Here’s a company that relies on people remodeling their homes. An increase in housing starts would certainly suit their palette, but a significant number of remodeling projects throughout the country also leaves a pleasant taste in the company’s mouth. Investors should note that Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL)’ specialty is hardwood flooring, as well as hardwood flooring improvements and accessories. They’re not dependent solely on new housing starts.
Considering U.S.household debt and persistent unemployment, counting on major growth in housing starts each month is a precarious endeavor at best. The road to better living may continue to be through sprucing up an existing abode, not taking on the financial burden of a new home (if you can get a loan in the first place).
Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL)’ strength is that it has one of the largest inventories of pre-finished and unfinished hardwood floors in its industry. It offers solid and engineered hardwood, and bamboo & cork, and laminate & vinyl flooring, with flooring specialists in each of its 300 stores nationwide.
Dusan Jovanic noted in his Motley Fool blog post (Lumber Liquidators Is Taking Advantage Of The Remodeling Boom) that the company “is one of the beneficiaries of the housing recovery. Its share price rose more than 400% since the mid-2011 lows, along with the company’s improving fundamentals.”
The point to note though is that this isn’t the recovery everyone was expecting considering June’s housing start numbers. Concerning those numbers, a U.S.economist for BNP Paribas, Yelena Shulyatyeva, said on July 17, 2013, “Today’s report was really surprising. We should be more cautious about our optimism.”
However, I believe that Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL) has the business model to survive as it taps the remodeling market.