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D.R. Horton Posts Quarterly Loss after Charges

D.R. Horton, the largest U.S. home builder, posted a quarterly loss that was narrower than expected Thursday as it took big inventory charges and wrote off land option contracts.

D.R. Horton posted a loss of $128.8 million, or 41 cents per share, for the first quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a year-earlier profit of $109.7 million, or 35 cents per share.

The results included land impairment and write-off charges totaling $245.5 million.

Analysts expected the company to lose 45 cents per share.

"Market conditions remained challenging in our December quarter as inventory levels of both new and existing homes remained high while pricing remained very competitive," board Chairman Donald Horton said.

"Lending standards continue to be more restrictive than during the previous year, and buyers continued to approach the home-buying decision cautiously. We expect the housing environment to remain challenging," he said.

First-quarter home-building revenue fell 39 percent to $1.71 billion. The company closed on 6,549 homes in the quarter, down 36 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Net orders in the quarter fell 52 percent to 4,245 while the value tumbled 61 percent to $900 million.

D.R. Horton generated more than $558 million in cash flow from operations during the quarter by selling off part of its inventory of unsold homes and reducing the mortgages it held for sale. It used part of the cash to pay off the outstanding balance on a revolving credit facility and to pay down other debt.

In November, the company said it set a goal to generate at least $1 billion in cash flow from operations in fiscal 2008.

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