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American Woodmark returns to profit in 2Q

WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) -- American Woodmark returned to a profit in its fiscal second quarter, buoyed by the continuing recovery of the housing market. The cabinet maker's performance topped analysts' estimates, and its stock climbed to its highest level in nearly two years.

American Woodmark makes kitchen cabinets and vanities for new homes and remodeling. On Monday a new report showed confidence among homebuilders rose this month to its highest level in 6 1/2 years. The increase was driven by strong demand for new homes and growing optimism about conditions next year.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index increased to 46, up from 41 in October. Readings below 50 suggest negative sentiment about the housing market. The index last reached that level in April 2006. Still, the index has been trending higher since October 2011, when it stood at 17.

For the period ended Oct. 31, American Woodmark Corp. earned $2 million, or 13 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $3 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.

Stripping out restructuring charges, earnings were 14 cents per share. That easily beat the 3 cents per share that analysts surveyed by FactSet expected.

Revenue increased 25 percent to $159.8 million from $128.4 million. Wall Street forecast $140.3 million.

Shares of the Winchester, Va. company rose $1.24, or 5.4 percent, to $24.27 in morning trading. The stock hit $24.82 earlier, its highest point since December 2010.