Bad weather led



to guide first-quarter earnings lower, although the homebuilder expects to make up the shortfall over the rest of the year.

The company said first-quarter earnings will be at least 15% above the $1.03 a share in the year-ago quarter. However, the implied $1.18 or so a share is below the $1.30 a share expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

"Approximately 225 home closings originally scheduled for closing in the first quarter ... will be delayed to later periods as a result of construction delays due to adverse weather conditions in several markets," primarily Southern California, Maryland, Nevada and Arizona.

Ryland expects the delayed closings will be reported in the latter quarters of 2005. It left full-year 2005 guidance intact at more than $7.25 a share. Analysts currently expect Ryland to earn $7.59 a share in all of 2005.

The shares fell $1.31, or 1.8%, to $70.50 in after-hours trading.