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Masco leaps on better-than-expected 4Q performance

NEW YORK (AP) -- Masco's stock surged to its highest level in about five years on Tuesday as the home improvement and building products company's fourth-quarter results topped analysts' estimates an an improving housing market.

THE SPARK: On Monday Masco, whose brands include Delta faucets and Merillat cabinets, reported adjusted earnings of 4 cents per share on revenue of $1.89 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 1 cent per share on revenue of $1.79 billion.

The Taylor, Mich., company said that sales and operating profits improved in all five of its operating segments for the first time since the housing downturn.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: A number of homebuilders and suppliers have reported fourth-quarter gains as the housing market continues to show signs of a recovery. Low interest rates are luring some buyers, while a limited supply is helping to push home prices higher.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Masco Corp. climbed $2.54, or 14.3 percent, to $20.33 in midday trading. Earlier in the session, the stock touched $20.39, its highest point since 2008.