D.R. Horton, one of the nation’s largest home builders, today reported the highest quarterly and annual earnings in the company’s history and raised its 2006 earnings guidance.

The company’s stock (NYSE:DHI) was up approximately 2 percent on the news, trading at $32.98 a share this morning.

Net income for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30 increased 61 percent to $563.8 million, or $1.77 per diluted share, and fourth-quarter consolidated revenue was up 45 percent to $5.1 billion from the same period a year ago.

Homes closed increased 38 percent to 18,622 homes during the fourth quarter.

For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, net income increased 51 percent to $1.5 billion, or $4.62 per diluted share, and consolidated revenue was up 28 percent to $13.9 billion.

Homes closed for the full fiscal year climbed 17 percent to 51,172 homes.

The company’s sales order backlog of homes under contract was a fiscal year-end record $5.8 billion, or 19,244 homes, up 28 percent from $4.6 billion, or 17,184 homes, last fiscal year.

As previously reported, net sales orders for the fourth quarter were $3.8 billion, or 13,950 homes, an increase of 33 percent from the same quarter in fiscal 2004. Net sales orders for fiscal year 2005 increased 28 percent to $14.6 billion, or 53,232 homes.

The company raised its diluted-earnings-per-share guidance for fiscal 2006 to be in the range of $5.22 to $5.32, based on approximately 321 million diluted shares. The company expects to close about 58,000 homes and generate more than $15.5 billion in revenues for fiscal 2006.

The company maintains its diluted-earnings-per-share guidance for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2005, to be in the range of 90 cents to 95 cents, based on approximately 319.5 million diluted shares.

D.R. Horton operates in 74 markets in 25 states in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and Western regions of the United States.

The builder also provides mortgage financing and title services for home buyers through its mortgage and title subsidiaries.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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