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D.R. Horton

(DHI) - Get D.R. Horton, Inc. Report

reported a 57% rise in fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday, topping Wall Street estimates, as low mortgage rates helped boost demand for new homes.

The Arlington, Tex.-based company posted net income of $136.4 million, or 92 cents a share, up from $86.8 million, or 74 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts were expecting the company to earn 87 cents a share, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call.

Home-sales orders for the quarter ended Sept. 30 jumped 93% to $2 billion, accounting for 8,665 homes. Consolidated revenue increased 41% to $2.2 billion.

For the full year, net income rose 57% to $404.7 million, or $2.87 a share, compared with $257 million, or $2.23 a share, for fiscal 2001. Revenue for the year grew 51% to $6.7 billion.

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"It has been another record-breaking year for D.R. Horton, and we are excited to have just completed our 'Silver Anniversary Year' celebrating 25 consecutive years of growth and increased profitability," the company said in a press release.

The company also offered guidance for next year, saying it expects first-quarter earnings to be in the range of 64 cents to 66 cents, and 2003 earnings of $3.40 to $3.45 a share, representing 18% to 20% growth on the year. Full-year revenue is targeted at $8 billion.

Despite the jump in earnings, Horton's shares were recently trading down 23 cents, or 1.3%, at $17.21 on the

New York Stock Exchange. The stock is down 40% since hitting an all-time high of $29.17 back on March 13 of this year.

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