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Despite challenges, Mohawk ups earnings

CALHOUN, Ga. — Even though rising oil and raw material costs put margins under mounting pressure, Mohawk Industries Inc. parlayed stronger sales into a 16.2 per increase in earnings, to $87.2 million from $75 million last year.

But largely because of the squeeze on margins, which more than offset lower costs, the acid test of earnings per share — the number Wall Street fixates on — came in beneath expectations, falling 2 cents shy of a consensus forecast of $1.31 per share. Disappointed stock watchers modestly marked down the stock, the strongest in the entire U.S. textiles industry, by 1.5 percent in mid-afternoon trading, by $1.07 a share, or 1.5 percent, to $70.25.

Mohawk sales, bolstered by a the earlier acquisition of the Lees Carpet business from Burlington Industries, and continued strength in its core floor coverings businesses, raced ahead by 19.2 percent, to $1.5 billion from $1.2 billion a year ago.

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