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Pulte Homes Inc. - Nationwide public home builder

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2008-03-06

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stories: rttnews.com, google.com, northwestern.edu, msn.com

Pulte Homes Inc. had forecast a profit for its fourth quarter in the range of break-even or $0.10 per share. Unfortunately, their 4Q results and the forecast did not match. Reported Q4 earnings came in $3.46 or a loss of $874.7 million, and included a charge of $543.3 million on inventory, land and goodwill impairment. The loss is tacked on to the billion dollar bite out of earnings Pulte took the previous quarter and won't help the junk rating already given the company's debt (S&P).

Even before the Q4 disaster Pulte Homes was acting conspicuously like a company in trouble, cutting it's labor force, by 20 per cent (55 jobs) in Baltimore and Washington, DC. The losses likely will wipe three consecutive years of earnings.

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Important: Ailing Builders haven't shut down, but they've suffered significant valuation declines, temporarily halted redemptions, or faced other major business hurdles. Builders on watch may not even have unusual declines relative to peers, but may be posted if it is felt there may be risk of developing a more serious condition in the near future.