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Masco Cuts 2007 Forecast, Citing Housing Weakness

Building products maker Masco cut its 2007 earnings forecast Friday, citing weaker-than-expected housing starts.

The maker of cabinets, faucets, paint and other products said it expects 2007 earnings of $1.55 to $1.65 per share.

Previously, it had forecast $1.60 to $1.70, and analysts had been looking for $1.72, according to Reuters Estimates.

While third-quarter earnings are still expected to be in line with the guidance issued earlier, the company said fourth-quarter sales would decrease in the mid-single digits on a percentage basis.

Masco said it had cut its forecast for 2007 housing starts to 1.35 million from 1.4 million.

Earlier this week the Commerce Department said housing starts in August fell to an annual rate of 1.33 million, the lowest pace since 1995.

Masco's revised full-year earnings guidance includes $70 million in pre-tax costs, as announced earlier, the company said.

Masco shares rose 62 cents to $23.99 in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

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