Black & Decker (NYSE:BDK) shares powered their way higher today after the power toolmaker gave a much-better-than-expected outlook for its first quarter. The stock nailed a new 52-week high on the news, but whether the stock deserves such bullish treatment over such a short and sweet piece of news is questionable.

The company said it now expects earnings of $0.90 to $0.93 per share, as compared to the previous view, which called for earnings of $0.65 to $0.70 per share. It plans to give the official first-quarter numbers on April 20. Today, it didn't give much of an idea of why things are looking up to such an extent. Maybe it's that new bridal -- and bridegroom -- registry that customer Home Depot (NYSE:HD) recently set up. (Just kidding.)

You probably already know Black & Decker as one of the most well-known purveyors of power drills, hammers, and other tools; it's also the name behind Kwikset locks and Dustbuster products. Home Depot and Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) are major customers, together making up about 30% of sales in 2003. While these are both strong customers to have, sales concentrations from just a few customers can be a dangerous game.

Competitors include Stanley Works (NYSE:SWK) and Danaher (NYSE:DHR), the latter of which makes Sears' (NYSE:S) Craftsman line of tools. Both companies have recently doled out strong quarters and improved outlooks as well, so Black & Decker seems to be enjoying an all-around good climate for toolmakers.

When it comes to the bullish first-quarter view for these players, interest rates continue to be at low levels, so interest in home maintenance and renovation continues -- for now. However, with rumors abounding that the anticipated softening of the housing market may indeed be coming, one might wonder if the allure of home improvement will continue. Though the mood today is upbeat for Black & Decker, an assessment of its shares should be reserved for the full first-quarter view later this month.

Are you handy with a drill, hammer, or any of the other tools reminiscent of Black & Decker products? Talk to other Fools on the Building/Maintaining a Home discussion board. If you're looking to buy or sell, our Home Center offers tips on getting the best deals on houses and mortgages.

If Alyce Lomax were to fire up a power tool, everybody would run for cover. She does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.