NEW YORK (Reuters) - Homebuilder Hovnanian
Enterprises Inc reported a narrower quarterly loss
Wednesday, but missed analyst estimates as weak consumer
confidence hurt sales.

Hovnanian reported a fiscal third-quarter loss of $72.9
million, or 92 cents per share, compared with a loss of $168.9
million, or $2.16 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had forecast a loss of 52 cents per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue slipped to $380.6 million from $387.1 million.

"We saw consumer confidence take a step backward" during
the third quarter, Chief Executive Ara Hovnanian said in a
statement. "Job creation is the key to a housing recovery."

Contracts fell 37 percent to 902 homes.

As of the end of its 2009 fiscal year on Oct. 31,
Hovnanian, the sixth-largest U.S. homebuilder, had operations
in 18 states. The company is based in Red Bank, New Jersey.

Its shares closed Wednesday up 7.6 pct at $3.68 per
share on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; editing by Andre Grenon)