Business: Solid Cement

Few investors regarded the cement industry as profitable—until recently. But in last week's bull market, cement stocks were holding their own with aircraft and oil. Riding the construction boom, they have doubled in price in the last year, while extra dividends and stock splits have become common. In the last month alone, North American Cement Corp. split its stock 4 for 3 and General Portland Cement split 2 for 1.

There was plenty of reason to be enthusiastic about the industry. The 157 active U.S. plants are operating at 90% of capacity and producing...

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