Hovnanian Posts Big Quarter

The homebuilders continue to sizzle, with Hovnanian ( HOV) becoming the latest to report unexpectedly solid quarterly results and raise its forward guidance.

The Red Bank, N.J., company earned $54.4 million, or $1.66 a share, in its fourth quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $21.7 million, or 74 cents a share, last year. Revenue rose to $831.4 million from $537.2 million.

For 2003, the company expects to earn between $5 and $5.20 a share on revenue of more than $2.7 billion. Analysts were expecting $4.79 a share, on average, on revenue of $2.67 billion, according to First Call.

The shares were recently trading for $34.29 on Island after closing at $32.70 on Friday.

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