(By Balachander) PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM), a homebuilder, posted a higher quarterly profit, driven by gains in revenue and margins.
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based PulteGroup earned 15 cents a share for the fourth quarter, after net charges of 19 cents a share due to mortgage and debt-repurchase charges, partially offset by tax benefits.
In the year-ago period, earnings were 4 cents a share, including net charges totaling 7 cents per share.
Market expectations were for earnings of 31 cents per share for the fourth quarter.
Total revenue grew 24 percent to $1.56 billion, topping consensus estimate for a 18.60 percent growth. Net new orders surged 27 percent generated from 4 percent fewer communities.
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Home sale revenue rose 27 percent with average selling price up 6 percent.
Adjusted gross margin improved 320 basis points to 21.8 percent from the fourth quarter last year due to improving market conditions, the company said.
As of Dec. 31, the company's contract backlog increased 65 percent to 6,458 homes, with a value of $1.9 billion.
SG&A as a percentage of home sales dropped 40 basis points to 9.6 percent.
PHM shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range between $7.42 and $21.97, ended Wednesday's regular trading at $21.05.