Lennar Corp. Helps Pull Market Back from Bad Jobless Report

The stock market got spooked this morning by a report that jobless claims rose 15,000, well above the consensus estimates. But the downward push was quickly reversed when homebuilder Lennar Corp. (LEN) reported better-than-expected results and an increase in orders for new home sales.

Lennar reported a drop in revenues and earnings, but still beat street estimates.

Second quarter net loss in 2009 was $125.2 million, or $0.76 per share, compared to second quarter net loss of $120.9 million, or $0.76 per share, in 2008. Revenues were $891.9 million, down from $1.13 billion, but they still handily beat the Street’s estimate of $597.5 million.

The real bright spot was the increase in orders for new homes, up 63% over the first quarter of 2009.

“During the second quarter, the housing market experienced an uptick in sales of new homes, compared to the first quarter, as more confident homebuyers took advantage of increased affordability,” said Stuart Miller, president and chief executive officer of Lennar Corporation. ” Declining home prices, historically low interest rates and government stimulus programs, such as the $8,000 federal tax credit and the $10,000 California state tax credit, created unique purchasing opportunities and made it more compelling for homebuyers to enter the market.”

I rate Lennar Corp. a B, or buy.

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