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Slowing housing starts hurt Masco in 1Q

The Associated Press

Slowing home construction hurt Masco Corp.'s first-quarter profit and revenue, and shares of the maker of building products shares fell Friday.

The maker of Behr paint, Delta faucets and other building products said late Thursday that it earned $74 million, or 21 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That's up from $53 million, or 15 cents per share, last year. On an adjusted basis, it earned 15 cents per share, up from 13 cents per share.

Revenue jumped to $1.97 billion from $1.88 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $1.99 billion.

Masco CEO Keith Allman said housing starts slowed in the second half of the year, which hurt its first-quarter performance. Extreme winter weather in much of North America also curbed its sales and profitability.

The company said that it believes new home construction will continue to grow in 2014 and home repair and remodeling will grow modestly, which should benefit the company. But investors were disappointed in the company's first quarter and took little solace in the outlook.

Shares of the Taylor, Mich., company fell $2.20, nearly 10 percent, to $20.25 by midday Friday. Its shares hit as low as $19.91 earlier in the day, making it one of the top decliners in the S&P 500 index.