|12:25 EDT||RYL, TOL, NVR, DHI, MDC, BZH, LEN, PHM, KBH, HOV, SPF||Hovnanian advances after results beat expectations|
Shares of homebuilder Hovnanian (HOV) are climbing after the company reported stronger than expected results, and noted that its backlog had jumped 14%. WHAT'S NEW: Hovnanian earlier today reported fourth quarter earnings per share of 21c, compared with analysts' consensus estimate of 16c. The homebuilder's revenue also surpassed the consensus outlook. Moreover, Hovnanian reported that its contract backlog as of October 31 had jumped 14.3% versus the same period in 2012 to $848.4 million. "Although our sales slowed from July through September due to the adverse impacts of higher mortgage rates, the sequester and the government shutdown, we are happy to report that our sales improved back to prior year levels in October and exceeded last year's levels in November," said Hovnanian CEO Ara Hovnanian. The company's profitability should increase in fiscal 2014, as demand for new homes rises as a result of household formations, the CEO added. On its earnings conference call, the company said that most of its growth in profitability in fiscal 2014 will occur in the second half of the year. Also, the home builder stated that it expects to report a loss for the first quarter of 2014, due to seasonally low delivery volume. PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, Hovnanian advanced 4.4% to $5.20. Other homebuilders were mixed in the down market, with Lennar (LEN) losing 0.7% to $34.80, KB Home (KBH) adding 0.5% to $17.20, Pulte Group (PHM) losing 0.3% to $18, and Ryland Group (RYL) rising 0.8% to $38.30.