What analysts are saying: Home price dip misleading

  • Updated: December 31, 2011 - 2:52 PM

Last week's Case-Shiller report showed another dip in Twin Cities housing prices. Herb Tousley, director of the real estate program at St. Thomas, explained that Case-Shiller numbers included prices from distressed sales. Distressed sales, including foreclosures and short sales, accounted for more than 40 percent of October sales. They can skew the results. Prices on traditional sales fell far less than distressed sales, Tousley said.

"There's not anything fundamentally wrong with the Twin Cities housing market," Tousley told the Star Tribune. "This is a function of having more foreclosures go through the market."

ARCTIC BUYS OUT SUZUKI

Last week Arctic Cat bought back shares from its largest shareholder and longtime engine supplier Suzuki Motor Corp. The relationship between the two companies dates to 1976. In 1988, Suzuki became an Arctic Cat shareholder.

"As Arctic Cat tries to become a more innovative company, operationally they've been moving apart," said analyst Craig Kennison of Robert W. Baird and Co. "Financially they're now also severing some of those ties."

Suzuki will continue to supply engine parts beyond 2013, but after the 2014 season Arctic Cat will bring engine manufacturing to its facility in Minnesota.

Analysts agreed that Arctic Cat bought back the 6.1 million shares at an attractive price, spending $13 per share or approximately $79.3 million. Mark Smith an analyst with Feltl and Co. in Minneapolis, wrote: "We think the purchase was a great use of cash as current shareholders now own approximately 33 percent more of the company with float unchanged and the company's balance sheet still in strong position."

PATRICK KENNEDY

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