Lakeland logs quarterly gain
Safety garment maker Lakeland Industries Inc. of Ronkonkoma broke through to profitability in its most recent quarter, the company reports. For the quarter ended April 30, Lakeland had $1.16 million in income on revenue of $25.75 million. That's up from a loss of $1.34 million on revenue of $25.36 million in the year-ago quarter. Earnings per share increased to $0.22 for the quarter, up from a loss of $0.25 a share in the comparable 2010 quarter. Lakeland's high-performance uniforms and gloves, sold worldwide, are used in heavy industry, government agencies, firefighting, hospitals and other settings. The company's financial results would have been even better if not for the lingering effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill -- the petroleum industry's stall meant Lakeland sold fewer products in the United States, the company said. However, international sales made up for the domestic sales slump, especially in Brazil, Russia, India and China. International sales increased 13.4 percent in the quarter. And international sales made up 42.9 percent of total sales, compared to 38.4 percent in the year-ago quarter.
-- JOSEPH MALLIA
Jobless claims remain high
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits hardly changed for a second straight week, stuck at a high level that points to a slowing job market. On Long Island, for the week that ended Sunday, initial claims totaled 2,518, down slightly from the 2,549 in the same week a year earlier, according to the State Labor Department. Nationally, weekly unemployment benefit applications nationwide ticked up 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 427,000 last week, the Labor Department said yesterday. It marked the ninth straight week in which applications have been above 400,000. That trend represents a setback after applications had been declining all winter. Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals sustainable job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for seven of nine weeks. But applications surged in April to 478,000 -- an eight-month high -- and they have been stuck above 400,000 since then.
Markets halt losing streak
A bit of good news was all it took to break a weeklong slump in the stock market. A report that U.S. exports hit a record in April sent stocks higher yesterday as investors hoped the economic recovery may not be as sluggish as the last week of grim reports have suggested. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 75.42 points, or 0.63 percent, to close at 12,124.36. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.44, or 0.74 percent, to 1,289.00. The Nasdaq composite rose 9.49, or 0.35 percent, to 2,684.87. Yesterday's gains broke a six-day losing streak and marked the first time stocks rose in June. Stocks had dropped following poor reports on manufacturing, home sales, hiring and consumer confidence.
U.S. home equity in decline
Falling real estate prices are eating away at home equity. The percentage of their homes that Americans own is near its lowest point since World War II, the Federal Reserve said yesterday. The average homeowner now has 38 percent equity, down from 61 percent a decade ago. The latest bleak snapshot of the housing market came as mortgage rates hit a new a low for the year, falling below 4.5 percent for a 30-year fixed loan. But even alluring rates have failed to deliver any lift to the depressed housing industry. The Fed report is based on data from the first quarter of this year. Another report last week found that home prices in big cities have fallen to 2002 levels. Normally, home equity rises as you pay off the mortgage. But home values have fallen dramatically since the bubble in prices burst in 2006. So many homeowners are losing equity even though the outstanding balance on the loan is getting smaller.
Combined with wire service reports