Observance of Veterans Day made for a slow day on Wall Street. The Dow and the Nasdaq each lost a fraction of a point, and the S&P 500 gained a fraction of a point. Thirteen of the Dow’s 30 components gained ground, led by United Technologies (UTX), which rose 1.4%. Volume was light, and declining issues outnumbered advancers by a nose. The prices of Treasuries strengthened marginally, while the price of gold futures were unchanged at $1.730.90 an ounce. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange lost 0.58% to $85.57 a barrel.
In Earnings News:
- D.R. Horton, the big homebuilder, announced earnings jumped from 11 cents a share a year ago to 30 cents a share in the latest quarter, thanks in part to a 30% increase in revenue. The price of Horton’s stock (DHI) fell 5% in today’s session.
- Beazer Homes, another big homebuilder, reported its loss narrowed from $2.86 a share a year ago to $2.57 a share in the latest quarter, helped in part by an 11% increase in revenues. The stock (BZH) lost 17%.
In Other Business News:
- The International Energy Agency announced that the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2020 thanks to the boom in oil and gas production through “hydraulic fracturing.” “By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest global oil producer ... the result is a continued fall in U.S. oil imports (currently at 20% of its needs) to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030.”
- Paint maker Sherwin-Williams announced it has an agreement to acquire Consorcio Comex, a Mexican manufacturer of coatings, for $2.3 billion (including Comex’s debt). A statement said: “This transaction will significantly increase our presence in markets where our store count is low; it builds upon our strategy to grow our architectural paint business in the Americas.” Sherwin-Williams’ shares (SHW) gained 5%.
- The prices of imported goods rose by 0.5% in October compared with September, according to the Commerce Department. The increase was larger than most economists expected, and the rising price of fuel accounted for much of the increase.
If you hate cleaning the garage or the basement because of the aroma of bleach and ammonia, your troubles are over. Or maybe they’re just beginning because you won’t have the excuse of hating those chemical smells anymore. Through the miracle of chemistry, flowery essences once found only in perfumes have been slowly creeping first into soaps, then room fresheners, then laundry detergents, and now finally into household cleaners.
Get ready for all-purpose cleaners that claim to smell like verdant meadows and fresh forest springs. The new aromas are not the simple “pine” or “lemon” of yesteryear; now they are reputedly a complex mixture of scents. Windex, for example, offers “Magic Meadow,” which smells like “fresh greens, morning dew, and white jasmine,” and Mr. Clean is offering “New Zealand Springs,” which smells like “ferns, forests, and glacier-carved waterfalls.” Say it ain’t so, Mr. Clean. This reminds me of the wine business: Are you ready for an industrial-strength drain cleaner that is “redolent of spring breezes, with notes of cedar and raisins and a whiff of honeysuckle at the finish”?
All this makes sense, I guess. If people want mopping the basement to smell like walking through the New Zealand countryside, fine. If aromas are now jumping straight from perfumeries to the shelf below the sink, I don’t mind. But I’m an equal opportunity guy, and I’d like to know why my favorite aromas don’t jump the other way, too. Why can’t I find the scents of my workshop, for instance, in a perfume for my wife or daughter? Here are three perfumes I’d like to give Kathy this Christmas.
1. Parfum WD-40
2. L’Essence de Crankcase Oil
3. Eau de Goo Gone