Boosted by Rising Orders, D.R. Horton Swings to 4Q Profit

D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) said Friday it swung back into the black in its fiscal fourth quarter as the home builder benefited from closing more contracts and booking more orders.

However, the Fort Worth, Tex.-based company's stock slumped more than 3% as its results missed expectations.

D.R. Horton said it earned $35.7 million, or 11 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a loss of $8.9 million, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had called for EPS of 14 cents a share.

Revenue increased 16% to $1.07 billion, essentially matching the Street’s view of $1.08 billion. Gross margins on home sales shrank to 16.1% from 17%.

D.R. Horton’s results were boosted by a 16% jump in home closings to 4,987 and a 6.6% rise in orders to 4,241 units. The home builder also said its backlog of orders increased to 4,854 homes, up 18% year-over-year.

“Our strategy to open new communities for first-time and move-up buyers, improve gross margins, adjust our overhead and reduce interest expense led to our second consecutive year of profitability, despite continued challenging market conditions,” Chairman Donald Horton said in a statement.

Looking ahead, Horton projected “another year of profitability” for the new fiscal year, which began this quarter.

Shares of D.R. Horton slid 3.52% to $11.25 Friday morning, adding to its 2011 decline of more than 2%.