Make no mistake: AlbanyInternational (NYSE:AIN) doesn't operate in the sexiest corner of the market. This New York-based small cap resides in the industrial-goods category, a group whose titans -- including United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), and Deere (NYSE:DE) -- tend to garner most of the headlines. Meanwhile, most of Albany's closest competitors are similarly dull international concerns.

That may partly explain why U.S. investors have taken a shine to the company's stock, boosting it earlier this month to a new 52-week high of $39.12. It's received a bit of a haircut since then -- Albany is currently trading around $37 -- but based on its third-quarter earnings report, which was released after the market closed on Friday, the firm still appears to be going strong.

To wit: This maker of, among other things, high-performance doors (yes, I'm yawning, too) cranked out earnings per share of $0.57, leapfrogging the $0.32 it doled out to investors during 2004's third quarter. Albany's net sales figure ticked up, too, climbing some 6.5% on a currency-adjusted basis over the year-ago period.

Those are solid numbers, but investors aren't impressed. The firm's shares had fallen about 2% in Monday morning trading.

Why so? Well, while CEO Frank Schmeler remains sanguine about his company's future prospects, he also sounded some cautious notes in the earnings announcement. Among other things, Schmeler characterized market conditions for Albany's doors unit as "mixed" because of slow economic growth in Europe. In addition, he noted "increased concern" and predicted slowing sales for the company's engineered fabrics division, which manufactures products for the pulp and paper industry.

That latter concern, however, is based partly on currently high energy costs. If those prices ebb -- as history and falling gas-pump prices suggest they will -- that should help mitigate some of Schmeler's concerns, all while helping Albany International's investors continue their peaceful slumber.

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Shannon Zimmerman heads up the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service and enjoys long afternoon naps. He doesn't own any of the securities mentioned, and the Fool has a strict disclosure policy.