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

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

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Jan. 15, 2013

CHICAGO, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks.com 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),
Lennar Corporation (LEN), MDC Holdings Inc. (MDC), PutleGroup Inc. (PHM), and
Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (HOV).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

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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) 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) and MDC Holdings Inc. (MDC), both carrying a Zacks
Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and PulteGroup Inc. (PHM), and Hovnanian Enterprises
Inc. (HOV) both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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

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