Now should probably be a better time for appliance manufacturer Maytag (NYSE:MYG): A strong housing market is good for business, and we got a look at the "up" side of this industry not long ago in Rich Smith's recent take on Maytag competitor Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR). Unfortunately for Maytag investors, the last few months haven't been kind -- their company's shares have fallen sharply since April.

Shares of Whirlpool and Electrolux (NASDAQ:ELUX) are off, too, but Maytag's fall is more pronounced -- particularly after Friday's nearly 10% drop-off. Here's why: Second-quarter results were disappointing, with quarterly sales falling slightly year over year, steel costs cutting into margins, and various charges eating up operating and net income. A work stoppage, since settled, didn't help. All told, the company lost more than $41 million; last year Maytag made some $25 million in Q2.

The Hoover division, meanwhile, continues to hurt the company. (Nathan Slaughter's June take on Maytag has a good discussion of the problems there.)

Maytag continues to send new products to market. Many, such as its Neptune drying system, have been well received. The company expects them to help results in the second half. Still, the company has looked "promising" for some time now -- read old Fool articles on the company, and you'll see a lot of language along those lines.

That the company, historically a strong cash producer, would surely come out of turnaround mode (well, that and an economic market seemingly tailor-made for the company) had been enough to help investors overlook the company's blemishes and give it the benefit of the doubt between early 2003 and this past April. Now, however, some are questioning the near-term future of the housing market, and that fund of patience, it seems, is running low.

Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story.