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(LEN) - Get Lennar Corporation Class A Report

posted a 9% increase in second-quarter profits, beating the consensus estimate by a substantial margin, and the company boosted its 2002 and 2003 earnings guidance on continued strength in the housing market.

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The company earned $106 million, or $1.51 a share, in the quarter, up from $97 million, or $1.40 a share, in the year ago quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had been looking for $1.24.

Lennar's revenue rose 13% to $1.6 billion, up from $1.4 billion last year and ahead of the consensus estimate of $1.39 billion. The company said new orders were up 12% for the quarter, while its backlog was up 11% to $3.1 billion.

In a press release, CEO Stuart Miller said, "The srength of the national housing market continues to fuel our record bottom-line performance and record second-quarter sales." The company announced the recently completed acquisition of The Fortress Group, and added that it may acquire Pacific Century Homes, as well as several private homebuilding companies.

Going forward, Lennar upped its outlook for 2002 and 2003, saying that its strong performance and record backlog will create higher results. For 2002, Lennar sees EPS at $6.50, the top end of previous guidance and 37 cents above the consensus of $6.13. For 2003, the company forecast earnings of $7.50 to $8 a share, up from its previous guidance of $7 to $7.50 and much higher than the consensus of $6.92.

Shares of Lennar were climbing about 1.2% to $58 in early premarket action after closing at $57.30 Tuesday.