CHICAGO, April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Sherwin Williams (NYSE: SHW), USG (NYSE: USG), La-Z-Boy (NYSE: LZB), Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY) and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B).
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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:
Used Home Sales Better Than Expected
Regionally sales were up on the month in three of the four Census regions. The West was the exception, with a 0.8% decline for the month and a 3.1% decline from a year ago. The South had the biggest month-to-month increase, with sales rising 8.2% but were down 1.0% from a year ago. The South is by for the largest of the four regions, so strength there is encouraging.
In the Midwest, sales rose 1.0% for the month but are down 13.1% year over year. The Northeast, the smallest of the four regions, saw a 3.9% increase on the month, but a 12.1% year-over-year decline.
The price to be paid for the higher sales was in the form of lower median prices in all four regions. Those ranged from a 3.0% decline in the Northeast to a 11.2% plunge in the West, relative to a year ago. While the median price is not the best measure of housing prices over time (changes in the mix of houses being sold can be a significant influence), the price declines are in line with (OK, a bit worse, but consistent with) the data we have seen from better home price series like the Case Schiller index.
Used Homes a Lesser Economic Stimulus
The level of activity in used home sales really is not that important in isolation. It is just the transfer of an existing asset, and does not add a lot to economic growth. The one exception to that is realtor's commissions. Indirectly, it can help as people will often remodel and redecorate a "new for them" house. That can stimulate some sales for paint companies like Sherwin Williams (NYSE: SHW) and perhaps it is good for furniture firms like La-Z-Boy (NYSE: LZB), but it pales compared to the economic activity generated by a new home sale.
New homes not only need new paint on the walls, but they need the walls. That means lots of business for wallboard firms like USG (NYSE: USG), timber firms like Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY) and roofing and insulation firms like the Johns Manville division of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B). It also means that those firms have to hire more workers, so the employment effect of new home sales goes well beyond the roofers and carpenters actually on the jobsite.
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