The C-E-O of Newton-based Maytag says sales were up over seven percent in the first quarter of this year and the future continues to look bright for the appliance maker. Ralph Hake says the company had net income of nearly 39-million dollars — giving earnings of 49-cents a share — up a nickel over last year. Hake says he expects the company to continue its growth.He says the major appliance industry is strong and they believe it will stay that way based on consumer confidence levels, interest rates at a 46-year-low and a strong housing market. He says new home construction was at two million units in March, an historically high level. Hake predicts earnings for the full year at two dollars and 30 cents to two dollars and 40 cents a share. He says a strong industry environment, both in appliances and floor care will help, despite rising steel and energy-related costs. Hake says Maytag Appliances gained market share for the third consecutive quarter.
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