The market we're facing these days doesn't take many prisoners, buffeting good companies and bad alike. Take Cemex (NYSE:CX), for instance. It's one of the soundest companies around, and yet largely because of the U.S. housing debacle, this Mexican-based cement and related products company has watched its share price decline more than 45% in less than a year.

As you know, Cemex is based near Monterrey, but operates in more than 50 countries on five of the world's continents. Its 67 cement plants generate about 96 million metric tons of cement annually, and its nearly 2,400 ready-mix concrete locations produce about 80 million cubic meters of ready-mix each year. Cemex is now one of the largest cement producers ranking.

Cemex's solid growth has occurred both organically and through acquisition. Indeed, its key purchases include Southdown, then the U.S.'s largest cement and related products company, which it bought earlier in this decade. Last year it acquired Australia-based Rinker Materials, which has the majority of its assets in the U.S., thus opening it up to, among other things, that same housing debacle.

My Foolish friends shouldn't expect the company to shoot the lights out when it reports its numbers. Inexplicably, like a lot of companies, Cemex feels compelled to soften us up with preliminary results, before later providing more complete financial and operating information.

In its first pass, Cemex told us that its operations have declined in the U.S., Spain, and the United Kingdom. But the good news is that strength in other areas of the world should mitigate the shortfall and keep revenues flat from a year ago. However, its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) will likely slip about 3% year over year. But, as one who once stumbled onto The Wall Street Journal's all-star research team in the housing and building materials category, I consider Cemex to be an incredibly, uhm, solid company.

And while its shares may have slid -- along with those of cement manufacturers Texas Industries (NYSE:TXI) and Eagle Materials (NYSE:EXP), but unlike better-performing building materials producer Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC) -- Fools would be well advised to watch this sound international company.

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Learn more about Cemex and other compelling companies by treating yourself to an absolutely free 30-day trial run of The Motley Fool's Stock Advisor or Global Gains. The Motley Fool also owns some shares in Cemex.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't have financial interests to in any of the companies mentioned above. He does, however, welcome your questions or comments. The Fool has a cement-solid disclosure policy.