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Building Materials Earnings Wrap-up

Weak construction activity continues to plague building materials firms.

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Emerging Markets Boost
Building materials companies' first-quarter results illustrated the effects of differing degrees of exposure to emerging markets. Firms with greater leverage to developing economies fared much better on sales volumes front than their peers.

Holcim, a global cement company with more exposure to emerging markets than its closest peers, Lafarge, HeidelbergCement, and  CEMEX (CX), saw its cement volumes grow 3% year over year on a like-for-like basis. Lafarge and Heidelberg, which are relatively more exposed to Europe and North America but still have cement plants in other areas such as Asia and Africa, both saw their cement volumes drop 5%. And CEMEX, with the greatest degree of exposure to North America among the top four global cement players, saw volumes drop 6%. Bringing up the rear were  Vulcan Materials (VMC) and  Martin Marietta Materials (MLM), which produce aggregates in the United States. These companies saw aggregates sales volumes drop 14% and 12%, respectively, in the first quarter.

Elizabeth Collins does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

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