Slow Housing Equals Slow Lawn Mower Market (BGG, TTC)

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Shares of Briggs & Stratton Corp. (NYSE: BGG) are trading down about 10% pre-market this morning after the company said that high materials costs and slower sales were affecting its financial performance.  This company makes lawn mowers and other outdoor equipment for lawns and gardens.  Slow housing sales and a weak economy are keeping consumers from spending as much.

The company earned less than $500,000 and only posted a gain of $0.01EPS.  While that might sound good to a factory worker, the company made$18.1  million and $0.36 EPS this quarter last year.  Revenues fell 14%too, and now we are over half way through summer and half way throughthe major yard cutting season.

Briggs & Stratton stock is down almost 10% to $13.30 but had beenlower a few minutes ago.  Another player in the sector is Toro Co.(NYSE: TTC) that makes the old red lawnmowers.  Its shares have not yettraded this morning.

While you think the grass grows and always has to be cut or that thegarden has to always be tended to, think again.  When your house islosing value maybe it doesn’t make sense to spend money to make theyard look better.  Maybe this is a good excuse to get out of yardchores this weekend.

Jon C. Ogg
August 14, 2008