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Meritage Homes Corporation, Lennar, MDC Holdings, PulteGroup and Hovnanian Enterprises highlighted in Zacks Analyst Blog:

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – January 15, 2013 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Meritage Homes Corporation (MTH - Free Report) , Lennar Corporation (LEN - Free Report) , MDC Holdings Inc. (MDC - Free Report) , PutleGroup Inc. (PHM - Free Report) , and Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. .

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Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Meritage Homes Upped to Strong Buy

On January 12, Zacks Investment Research upgraded homebuilding company Meritage Homes Corporation (MTH - Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), driven by consistent strong performance for the past two quarters.

Why the Upgrade?  

Meritage Homes Corporation has been witnessing increasing earnings estimates, driven by solid third 2012 performance. The company delivered impressive surprises of 30.30% in third quarter 2012 and 160.0% in second quarter 2012.

Moreover, estimates are continuously rising, reflecting expectations for significantly higher year-over-year earnings growth rates in fiscal 2013 and 2014. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 7.67%. 

Meritage Homes reported fiscal third-quarter (ended September 30) results on October 25. The company’s third quarter 2012 adjusted earnings of 43 cents beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 33 cents by 30.3% on the back of robust new order growth. The results also improved significantly from a loss of 10 cents in the prior-year quarter.

Total revenue in the third quarter of 2012 amounted to $342.6 million, up 57.5% year-over-year. Reported revenue beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $342 million. Year-over-year growth in home closing revenue was attributable to a 43% increase in the number of homes closed and an 8% hike in average closing prices, owing to a shift in mix toward higher priced homes and communities.  

The strong performance in third quarter 2012 was attributed to a stabilizing recovery in the housing market. This was backed by moderating interest rates as renting became a more expensive option luring buyers to new homes.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2013 increased 5.7% to $2.05 per share as most of the estimates were revised higher over the last 90 days.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other companies with a favorable Zacks Rank and worth considering include Lennar Corporation (LEN - Free Report) and MDC Holdings Inc. (MDC - Free Report) , both carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and PulteGroup Inc. (PHM - Free Report) , and Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).


Today, Zacks is promoting Four daily picks are offered free.


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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


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