D.R. Horton Inc., the third-largest U.S. home builder by revenue, reported its smallest loss in five quarters Tuesday.

The net loss for the builder's fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 31, narrowed to $62.6 million, or 20 cents a share, from $128.8 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier, the Fort Worth company said.

The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg called for a net loss of 56 cents.

"Considering the environment, these are pretty good results," said Robert Curran, a managing director covering home builders for Fitch Inc. in New York.

"They are still generating positive cash flow," he said, "and that's important, because in these very trying times investors and agencies are all focusing on liquidity."

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