Lennar ( LEN), the homebuilder, reported a profit of 16 cents a share in the fourth quarter, missing by a penny the average estimate of analysts, but topped analysts' views for revenue. The company said revenue jumped 11% from last year to $952.7 million, beating analysts' estimates of $914 million, according to Thomson Reuters. A year earlier, Lennar earned 17 cents a share on revenue of $860.1 million. The company also reported that new orders rose 20% to 3,027 homes, while the Miami-based company's backlog, an indication of future business, grew 35% to 2,171 homes. Gross margin on home sales also improved, rising to 19.4% from 17.7% a year earlier. Lennar shares were falling 0.2% to $20.71 in early trading.
Dell ( DELL) intends to enter the crowded tablet computer market with its first consumer device late this year, Chief Commercial Officer Steve Felice said, Reuters reported. The Texas-based company plans a push into the tablet market, after delaying entry to learn from competitors that tried to square-off against the Apple ( AAPL) iPad, in an effort to combat its steadily dropping rank in global PC sales. "When you are talking about PC, people are more focused on the hardware itself. When you are talking about the tablet or the smartphone, people are interested in the overall environment its operating in. As we have matured in this, we are spending a lot more time in the overall ecosystem," Felice said. While Dell has not yet chosen an operating system for its consumer tablet, both Microsoft's ( MSFT) upcoming Windows 8 and Google's ( GOOG) OS are options, Felice said. Dell shares were down 0.1% to $15.81 in premarket trading.
Microsoft ( MSFT) said Tuesday industry-wide personal computer sales will probably be less than analysts projected in the fourth quarter due to supply disruptions caused by flooding in Thailand. "As the numbers come out, you'll likely see that number decline further as the impact has been felt faster than people had anticipated," Microsoft's Bill Koefoed said at a JPMorgan Chase conference in Las Vegas. Microsoft shares were falling 1.2% to $27.50.
NYSE Euronext ( NYX) and Germany's Deutsche Böerse are scrambling to save their merger after European antitrust regulators urged rejection of the deal. The European Union competition authority recommended that EU commissioners rule against the tie-up, a senior European Union official said, The Wall Street Journal reported. The recommendation, which hasn't been made public, cited the potential combined power of NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Böerse and over the trading of exchange-listed derivatives, including futures and options, the official said. The proposed $9 billion merger was announced in February.
Shares of Commercial Metals ( CMC), a scrap metal and steel rebar giant, dropped after activist investor Carl Icahn' s Icahn Enterprises ( IEP) ended its proxy fight with the company after buying about 23% of Commercial Metals' shares in a tender. "We believe it's going to be business just the same over the next year or two," Icahn told TheStreet Monday, explaining that he doesn't want to keep his money with the company's management for such a long period of time and has little faith in its record, regardless. Icahn's $15 a share tender offer worth $1.73 billion expired Tuesday. Icahn's offer represented a 31% premium to Commercial Metals' shares when the bid was made in late November. Commercial Metals shares were down 7.5% to $13.65 in early trading.
Crocs ( CROX), the footwear maker, expects fourth-quarter revenue to come in at the high end of its outlook of $200 million to $205 million. Analysts expect revenue of $204.5 million in the December-ended quarter. Crocs said it expects annual revenue of more than $1 billion in fiscal 2011 for the first time in its history. Shares were rising 5.6% to $16.85 in premarket trading.
MetLife ( MET) said Tuesday it is exiting the forward residential mortgage business. MetLife said it expects $90 million to $110 million in costs over the next year related to exiting the business.
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