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First Look - September 2014


Vulcan Reports Sales Jump
Vulcan Materials Co. announced results for the second quarter ending June 30. Net sales increased $60 million, or 9 percent, and gross profit increased $42 million, or 32 percent, compared with the prior year.

CRH/Oldcastle On the Grow
Irish building materials group CRH plc, which owns Oldcastle in the United States, said its earnings increased 27 percent to 505 million euros in the first six months of the year.

Krause Joins McLanahan
McLanahan Corp. announced that effective August 11, 2014, industry veteran Mark Krause has joined the company as general manager of the Aggregate Processing Division.


MSHA WATCH

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), on August 2, 2014, a 53-year-old plant operator with 25 years of experience was killed at a sand and gravel plant. The victim was working under the raised bed of a dump truck when the wooden block supporting the load suddenly failed, allowing the bed to fall and pin him. The victim was working alone and was not found until 10 a.m. on August 3, 2014.


USGS STATS

According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) monthly leading and coincident indexes for the nonmetallic mineral products industry, the latest data indicates that private nonresidential construction spending decreased in June, but spending is more than 11 percent higher than in 2013. This bodes well for the nonmetallic mineral products industry, USGS said, because nonresidential construction has generally accounted for two-thirds of construction spending since the start of the U.S. economic recovery.


ECONOMIC INDICATORS

New construction starts in July climbed 6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $588.8 billion, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. Nonresidential building continued to advance, supported by yet another robust month for manufacturing plant projects as well as improvement for commercial building. Highway work declined an alarming 11 percent, while bridge work slid 21 percent.

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 412,000 units in July, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales numbers for June were revised up 16,000 to 422,000.

A survey of construction industry end-users by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows plans to increase construction equipment fleet sizes, staff levels and start adopting telematics technology. The Snapshot Survey provides a generally upbeat outlook, especially among smaller companies with less than 1,000 employees.


ENERGY

WTI crude oil futures price - 8/27/2014: $93.88/bbl, down $2.19 from week earlier; down $15.13 from year earlier.

Natural gas futures price - 8/27/2014: $3.957/mmBtu, up $0.134 from week earlier; up $0.423 from year earlier.

Natural gas inventories - 8/22/2014: 2,630 Bcf, up 75 Bcf from week earlier; down 490 Bcf from year earlier.

Crude oil inventories - 8/22/2014: 360.5 mmbbl, down 2.1 mmbbl from week earlier; down 1.6 mmbbl from year earlier.

Weekly coal production - 8/16/2014: 19.631 million tons, up 0.457 million tons from week earlier; down 0.626 million tons from year earlier.