Banc of America downgraded M.D.C. Holdings (MDC
) to sell from neutral, citing weaker demand and increases in land, labor and material costs.
Analyst Dan Oppenheim says his model continues to assume increases in average selling prices, but this may prove optimistic given recent trends in the company's markets. He notes his monthly survey continues to point to deteriorating trends in the company's core markets of Arizona, Nevada, and California. He cut his $11 2006 earnings per share (EPS) estimate to $10.80, his $9.29 2007 estimate to $9, and his $11 2008 to $7. He believes MDC has greater risk of an earnings decline than most in the group due to its lower margins from its short land supply.