Investor Alert

Aug. 12, 2012, 10:34 p.m. EDT

James Hardie posts profit jump, sees U.S. recovery

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By Ross Kelly

SYDNEY--James Hardie Industries SE , one of the biggest makers of home sidings in the U.S., said Monday that early signs of a recovery appear to be underway in that country's housing market, as it booked a large rise in first-quarter profit.

The company reported net profit in the three months to June 30 of US$68.5 million, up from just US$1.0 million a year earlier. Operating earnings excluding asbestos liabilities rose 11% to US$43.8 million.

James Hardie forecast full-year operating earnings of US$140 million-US$160 million, which it said compared with current analysts forecasts ranging from US$156 million-US$177 million.

"In the U.S., some encouraging industry data points continued to emerge during the quarter, including increased stability of house values in recent periods, and the very early stages of a recovery in the U.S. residential market appears to be underway," James Hardie said in a statement.

In Australia, the market is deteriorating towards cyclical lows, it said.

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