Whirlpool sees North America driving growth in 2016

Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:50pm EST
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By Ankit Ajmera

(Reuters) - Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N: Quote) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and said consumer demand is likely to remain resilient in North America, its biggest market, this year.

Shares of the world's largest maker of home appliances rose as much as 5.3 percent on Friday.

An improving U.S. economy has helped boost consumer spending in the country, even as economic uncertainty plagues emerging markets, particularly China and Brazil.

"Every piece of the drivers of demand - new housing, existing homes sales and discretionary (spending) - are going in the right direction. So, we view it as a very positive spot," Chief Executive Jeff Fettig said on a conference call.

Whirlpool's sales in North America rose about 4 percent to $2.9 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, accounting for about 52 percent of total sales.

The company also forecast shipments to rise by 5 percent in the region this year.

"The region, which was the subject of most investor angst, was improved and better than expected, with margins up sequentially despite holiday promotions," Raymond James Equity Research analyst Sam Darkatsh wrote in a note.

However, Whirlpool's outlook for emerging markets was less than encouraging.   Continued...

A Whirlpool logo is seen on a range door at the Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee August 21, 2013.  REUTERS/Chris Berry