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5 Homebuilder Stocks With the Brightest Outlook for 2012

Stocks in this article: DHILENPHMTOLKBH

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The second-largest U.S. homebuilder, D.R. Horton (DHI), has seen its shares gain 16% in the past three months. They have a three-year average annual return of just under 20% -- in the weakest new-home market in a lifetime. Its shares have a market value of $3.4 billion.

The company is one of the largest new-home builders and operates in 72 markets across 26 states. D.R. Horton targets entry-level and first-time home buyers. It also offers finance and closing services.

S&P reports that for fiscal 2012, analysts estimate the company will earn 49 cents per share and that will jump 73% to 85 cents in fiscal 2013.

The top 10 institutional investors own 45% of the company, led by mutual fund giant Fidelity, at 14%.

The company reported last week that it earned 11 cents per share in its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with a loss of 3 cents a year earlier.

Significantly, D.R. Horton said its sales backlog as of the end of the third quarter increased to 4,854 homes from 4,128 homes, positioning the company for a stronger start to fiscal 2012. The company said it expects to be profitable next year. Analysts expect the company to earn 51 cents per share in 2012.

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