reported stronger-than-expected results for the fourth quarter. The Atlanta, Georgia-based company posted a quarterly profit of $217.1 million, or $0.58 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $220.1 million, or $0.57 per share. According to the press release, the latest quarter included $0.16 per share of tax and insurance benefits, offset by $0.01 per share of lease exit costs. Its revenue climbed 10.1% to $1.82 billion. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.40 per share on revenue of $1.76 billion. Pulte's new orders rose 1% to 3,232 homes, while the value of net new orders gained 2% to $1.1 billion. Closings gained 7% to 5,316 homes. The average selling price gained 3% to $334,000 in the period. At year end, PulteGroup's backlog totaled 5,850 homes valued at $1.9 billion, versus backlog of 5,772 homes valued at $1.9 billion, a year earlier Richard J. Dugas, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO of PulteGroup said, "We are optimistic heading into 2015 as buyer sentiment began improving in late November supporting stronger traffic and signup levels throughout December and into January. We believe the positive factors of an improving economy with declining energy costs, rising employment, lower mortgage rates and related fees, beneficial long-term demographic trends and a generally healthy supply of inventory, will continue to support a slow and sustained housing recovery.” PulteGroup shares fell 1.81% to close at $20.58 yesterday.
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