Palm Harbor Homes


said that it will post a "modest loss" for the first quarter, well below the 25 cents a share the company earned in the year-ago quarter.

The manufactured homes maker said that sales are depressed due to financing-related changes for potential purchaers. In a press release, Chairman Lee Posey said, "Several key lenders have withdrawn entirely from the market, and those remaining have imposed much tighter qualifications for new loans."

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Additionally, the company said legislative changes in Texas, one of its most important markets, were forcing buyers to use more complicated mortgage financing.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had been expecting Palm Harbor to earn 15 cents a share in the second-quarter.

Looking ahead, the company said it could not provide full-year guidance due to the market's continuing volatility. "We do not have a reasonable basis for offering guidance about what our absolute level of profitability may be for fiscal 2003 as a whole ... because of the current industry environment."

Shares of Palm Harbor Homes closed at $22.50 Tuesday before the news.