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Horton chairman sees favorable housing market

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Donald R. Horton, chairman of the board at D.R. Horton, Inc., credited the upward trajectory of the U.S. housing market for the homebuilder’s strong second-quarter earnings report.

“Housing market conditions remain favorable, and as expected, the pace and strength of the improvement varies significantly across our local operating markets," he said in a company release. "Our broad geographic footprint, diversified product offerings, solid balance sheet and robust finished lot supply put us in a strong position to capture demand and increase revenues and profitability in the second half of our fiscal year."

The homebuilder pulled in $1.7 billion in revenues over the three months ended March 31, up 22% from $1.4 billion the year previous.

Meanwhile, net income increased 18% year-over-year to $131.0 million for the quarter.

"Our homebuilding and financial services operations delivered a great quarter, highlighted by pre-tax income of $201.9 million and a pre-tax income margin of 11.6%," Horton added. "The dollar value of our homes sold, closed and in backlog all increased by double-digit percentages. Our net sales orders in the March quarter were up 57% sequentially from the December quarter and up 9% from the March quarter last year. Our average sales price increased 10% to $278,900, reflecting continued pricing power in many of our markets."

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Consumer confidence down slightly from recent high in March

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Consumer Confidence backed down slightly from its recent peak in March, now standing at 82.3, according to The Conference Board.

“Consumer confidence declined slightly in April, as consumers assessed current business and labor market conditions less favorably than in March,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “However, their expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market held steady. Thus, while sentiment regarding current conditions may have slipped a bit, consumers do not foresee the economy, or the labor market, losing the momentum that has been building up over the past several months.”

Reflecting this trend is the Present Situation Index, which is down to 78.3 from 82.5. Fewer people claimed business conditions were "good," and more said they were "bad." In terms of jobs availability, those saying jobs were "plentiful" edged down to 12.9% from 13.8%, and those saying they were "hard to get" increased to 32.5% from 31.4%.

Meanwhile, the Expectations Index largely flatlined, up slightly to 84.9 compared to 84.8 in March. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months remained at their previous level of 17.4%, though 0.2% more people anticipated conditions to worsen. More people — 0.9% — are expecting more jobs in the months ahead, however, though 0.4% more people expect fewer jobs. The biggest increase was seen in those expecting a boost in income — 17.1%, compared to 15.3% last month. However, those expecting a drop in their incomes also increased by 1.4%.

March’s score of 83.9 was the highest level the index has seen since January 2008.

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HCN Stock Watch: SHLD up 4.04%

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The tide was turning favorably at Monday’s close, with Sears Holdings (SHLD) leading the pack at a gain of 4.04%.

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