WOLF's key buyer index rises

WOLF's Key Buyer Index (KBI) was up substantially between November and January, which runs counter to many of the less-than-stellar economic indicators from the building industry this winter.

The January 2014 KBI score came in at 64.73, a 20.6% increase from November 2013's score of 53.67. January's score is also a big improvement over the year-ago score of 58.33.

The KBI is a proprietary metric that measures independent dealers' sentiments toward the near-term future of the building materials industry. Key buyers at various dealers across 26 states answer a monthly survey, which culminates in a score that reflects a neutral outlook at 50, with anything above that reflecting positive sentiment.

Perhaps a bit counterintuitively, sentiment in the winter-embattled Northeast ran higher than the average at 66.67.