Fortune Brands (NYSE:FO) operates in the disparate spirits and wine, home products, and golf businesses. The only thing tying them together is that the products are market leaders. The only thing untying current results is exposure to housing.

As has been the trend, strong results in the alcohol-related and golfing business are being masked by home and hardware difficulties. Each reported positive quarterly sales, though the latter category eked out a 0.7% gain and unfortunately accounted for 51% of total sales. Management boasted that "strength in the replace-remodel segment and share gains for Moen, Therma-Tru, Master Lock and our cabinetry brands helped us outperform the home products market."

Despite the top-line stability, the home division continues to struggle and still saw a severe 19% fall in operating income. This was enough to offset an 18.4% increase from the spirit segment and a respectable, single-digit improvement in golf, which includes venerable brands -- such as Titleist, Pinnacle, and Footjoy -- and competes with the likes of Callaway Golf (NYSE:ELY).

So while spirit-related peers Diageo (NYSE:DEO) and Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF-B) (NYSE:BF-A) have stock prices that are up for the year, shares of Fortune Brands are in negative territory and will likely remain weak until subprime and other housing challenges start to dissipate.

Perhaps management will spin off anything not having to do with alcohol, as it did not too long ago when it jettisoned its stodgy office supply segment, which is now known as Acco Brands (NYSE:ABD). In any case, Fortune Brands continued to generate substantial cash flow, and the near-term woes could provide a nice purchase price -- provided home and hardware trends eventually improve.

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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann is long shares of Diageo but has no financial interest in any other company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.