Ryland ( RYL) reported a 42% spike in third-quarter net income, handily beating Wall Street's estimate, and the homebuilder raised its earnings guidance for 2005.

The company reported third-quarter earnings of $118 million, or $2.39 a share, up from $83 million, or $1.66 a share a year earlier. The latest quarter's earnings per share included a 10-cent charge for debt retirement. Analysts expected earnings of $2.29 a share, according to Thomson First Call.

Revenue rose 21% to $1.2 billion in the quarter, spurred by a nearly 12% increase in home closings to 4,332. The average selling price of Ryland's houses rose to $278,000 from $257,000 a year ago. New orders jumped nearly 11% to 4,361.

The company raised its 2005 earnings guidance to more than $8.75 per share, above analysts' average estimate of $8.63. The company also said it is comfortable with the current Wall Street EPS consensus of $10.02 for 2006.

Ryland's board approved doubling its quarterly dividend to 12 cents a share, effective in the first quarter of 2006. The company also said it repurchased about 665,000 shares of its common stock during the third quarter and has the authority to purchase another 1 million shares. Ryland plans to increase the targeted dollar value of its stock repurchases this year from $150 million to $175 million.

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