Monday, February 4, 2013

Pulte Off Slightly; Q1 Loss Narrows, Sees Profit This Year

Pulte Homes (PHM) shares have been creeping back from an early gap down and are currently down 20 cents at $12.90 after the company this morning reported revenue of $1 billion, below the average $1.2 billion estimate, but a much narrower-than-expected net loss of 3 cents per share, versus 22 cents expected.

The smaller net loss was a big improvement from the $2.02 per share recorded a year earlier, as was the 75% jump in revenue. The year-over-year improvements are distorted somewhat by the addition of results from home builder Centex, which Pulte bought back in August.

The company focused on profitability more than volume, management said.

Home closings rose 77% to 3,795, even as prices dipped by $6,000 to $257,000. Level of home closings was below Q4′s 6,200, and prices were down by $1,000, much of which may be attributable to seasonality.

At the same time, new home orders rose 15% from Q4, and 43% year over year, to 4,320. Cancellations fell 21% from Q4.

The company’s net-debt-to-capital improved to 35% from 38% a year earlier and 43% at the end of Q4.

During a conference call with management, the company said it expects demand to be “stable” throughout this year and is preparing in case demand turns out to be more “robust.”

“Even a modest uptick in employment could have a significant impact on demand,” said CEO Richard Dugas.

The company expects to be profitable this year, management said.

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