Fortune Brands (NYSE: FO) couldn't have been happy to learn that new-home sales have dropped to their lowest level in more than 16 years.

But considering its first-quarter earnings results, Fortune Brands can't be too surprised, either. Home and hardware sales declined 12.5%. Golf product sales increased 8% year over year, while spirits sales fell by 0.8%. International sales contributed double-digit sales growth, but it wasn't enough to buffer the faltering home market, and total consolidated sales dropped 5.4%.

We all know that the housing market has wreaked havoc all around. Hit notably hard is anyone who makes or sells products related to housing, such as homebuilding retailers like Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe's (NYSE: LOW), and home furnishing retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY)  and Pier 1 (NYSE: PIR). Fortune Brands management acknowledges the ongoing housing market challenges and is planning on further double-digit declining quarters in the home products market.

Interestingly, management blamed its fairly flat spirits sales on "larger-than-usual" distributor inventory reductions, implying that lack of spirits was solely a distribution issue. Spirits competitor Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), which bought up Fortune Brands' fine wine collection, has already seen liquor revenue decrease, so I'd keep an eye on this sector as it could go either way (people may need to drink away their sorrows in this market, but they may not have the money to buy Fortune Brands' premium products).

Fortune Brands' stock has dropped 24% from its 52-week high. Clearly, the housing market doesn't look poised to turn around anytime soon. Fortune Brands has a diversified base of product offerings, but it remains to be seen whether consumers will buy high-end golf balls and liquors in light of the housing crisis that is clouding the company's overall outlook.

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Bed Bath & Beyond is a Stock Advisor and Inside Value selection. The Fool owns shares of it. Home Depot is also an Inside Value recommendation. Looking for more advice in a bear market? Give any of The Motley Fool's newsletter services a spin with a 30-day free trial.

Fool contributor Colleen Paulson sold her Fortune Brands stock a few months back and holds no stock in companies mentioned in this article. The Fool's disclosure policy thinks Pat Sajak is the best.