AP News

Hovnanian narrows 4Q loss

RED BANK, N.J. (AP) — Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. reported Thursday that it narrowed its fiscal fourth-quarter loss as the housing market continued to recover.

The homebuilder reported a net loss of $84.4 million, or 59 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Oct. 31. That compares with a loss of $98.3 million, or 90 cents per share, last year. The most recent quarter includes an $87 million loss on extinguishment of debt.

Stronger sales of new homes helped the company during the quarter. Revenue climbed 43 percent to $487 million.

"After the worst downturn that the homebuilding industry has ever seen, I do not think there is any question that the industry is finally in a period of modest recovery," Ara Hovnanian, chairman, president and CEO of the company, said in a statement. "Building homes creates jobs for carpenters, electricians, plumbers and many other trades, as well as jobs in related industries like manufacturing appliances and home furnishings. A sustained recovery in the homebuilding sector will help drive overall improvement in the U.S. economy and that will encourage even more consumers to buy a home."

Still, the quarter's results fell short of market expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet estimated the company would post a loss of 18 cents per share on revenue of $468.8 million.

Hovnanian, based in Red Bank, N.J., is one of the nation's largest homebuilders. Its shares fell 25 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $5.25 in afternoon trading. The stock has ranged from $1.27 to $5.80 over the past year.

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