Pulte Homes announced preliminary Q4 results late yesterday that were sharply lower than its previous guidance. Q4 EPS is now seen between -$0.05 to $0.05, from $0.30 to $0.70 previously. A poll by Thomson shows analysts had expected $0.37. Impairments and land-related charges are now estimated between $330 million to $350m, or $0.83 to $0.88/share, more than double prior guidance of $150m. Q4 home closings totaled 12,566, or a 20% decline year-over-year and new orders of 6,466 represent a 34% decline. Pulte's CEO commented, "... [we] continue(s) to navigate through a challenging operating environment, with demand for new homes during the fourth quarter still far below pre-2006 levels." In a positive note, average sales price per home was up 6% to approx. $341k. Backlog totaled 10,255 homes at the end of Q4, valued at $3.6b. Pulte reports Jan. 31 after the market's close and its conference call will be held the following morning at 8:30 ET. Its shares were up 0.3% in normal trading yesterday at $32.90, but lost 3.5% to $31.75 in extended trading on volume of 85.5k.
• Sources: Press release, MSN Money-AP
• Related commentary: Weak Housing Forecasts Foretell Further Downside, More Evidence of the Housing Bottom from the Builders, Housing Bubble and Real Estate Market Tracker, Assessing the Homebuilder Stocks
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Pulte Homes (PHM). Competitors: DR Horton (DHI), Centex (CTX), Lennar (LEN), Toll Brothers (TOL), KB Home (KBH), Beazer Homes (BZH). ETFs: iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction (ITB), streetTRACKS SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB)
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