NEW YORK, Nov 12 (Reuters) - D.R. Horton Inc, the biggest U.S. homebuilder, said new home orders declined in its latest quarter as demand slackened after the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit, and its shares fell. Horton and other builders are concluding they may generate lower cash flows in the future than they anticipated as the boost from tax credit that expired in April proved short-lived. "There's a new baseline of demand that many homebuilders are forecasting following the expiration of the tax credit," said Morningstar analyst Mike Gaiden. "As they look out, their future expected earnings from their current development portfolios are now forcing them to take impairment (charges)." Horton said new home orders fell 20.5 percent to 3,979 homes in its fourth quarter. Orders are a leading indicator for homebuilders, which do not recognize revenue until they have closed on a home. Wall Street probably expected 250 to 300 more orders, wrote Wells Fargo analyst Carl Reichardt in a research note, forecasting an early dip in the shares. Horton's results also included $30.8 million in pretax charges for impairment of land and write-offs of abandoned land purchase options. Such charges have ticked up for many builders, such as Ryland Group Inc and PulteGroup Inc, in the most recent quarter. Horton's charges were about flat sequentially. The company said on Friday that its loss narrowed to $8.9 million, or 3 cents per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter, ended on Sept. 30, from $234.9 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average were expecting a loss of 4 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Homebuilding revenue slid to $925.7 million from $1 billion. "As we expected, market conditions in the homebuilding industry have been even more challenging after the expiration of the tax credit," said Chairman Donald Horton. Horton's shares were down 2.3 percent at $11.89 in early morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, compared with a 0.09 percent dip in the Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index . (Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; Editing by Derek Caney, Lisa Von Ahn and Steve Orlofsky) Keywords: DRHORTON/ (Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org; e-mail: email@example.com; Tel: +1-646-223-6127) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.
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