D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. home builder, reported its sixth straight quarterly loss and cut its dividend Tuesday.
The fiscal fourth-quarter net loss widened to $799.9 million, or $2.53 a share, from $50.1 million, or 16 cents a share, a year earlier, the Fort Worth company said. Analysts had forecast a net loss of $2.04 a share, according to the average of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
"Market conditions in the homebuilding industry deteriorated," the company's chairman, Donald Horton, said in a press release. The quarter was characterized by "rising foreclosures, high inventory levels of both new and existing homes, increasing unemployment and eroding consumer confidence," he said.
D.R. Horton had warned on Nov. 4 that it would report a loss of $800 million to $900 million.
It said Tuesday that home-building revenue fell to $1.75 billion from $3.12 billion. The company cut its dividend for the quarter to 3.75 cents from 7.5 cents a share, the second reduction this year, to conserve cash.
"With the reams of bad publicity about housing and house prices, even those who are anxious to buy homes are sitting on the fence," Joseph Snider, a senior credit officer at Moody's Investors Service Inc. in New York, said before the results were released.
The value of D.R. Horton's backlog, or homes under contract and not yet sold, fell 55% to $1.21 billion. Orders fell 38% to 3,977. The number of homes sold in the quarter fell 41% to 6,961.