Why Shares of KB Home Jumped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of KB Home  (NYSE: KBH  ) climbed as much as 11% today after the company turned in a strong first-quarter earnings report.

So what: The homebuilder said its bottom line swung from a per-share loss of $0.16 a year ago to a profit of $0.12, beating estimates of an $0.08 profit. Revenue improved 11% to $450.7 million, better than the expectation of $435.3 million. Average selling price improved 12% thanks to a shortage of shovel-ready land, All regions were strong except the West Coast, where a slowdown caused a slight decline in total homes delivered from 1,485 to 1,442. Management said it was able to boost profit by "targeting attractive, land-constrained locations."

Now what: The company backlog improved 4% to 2,880, and potential future housing revenue increased 21% to $851 million. This was the company's first profitable first quarter since 2007, and overall housing numbers remain strong. The country's No. 1 homebuilder, D.R. Horton, has predicted a "very strong" selling season in spring, which is traditionally the industry's strongest, and KB said it's well positioned "with more communities open in attractive locations across the country." I'd expect another solid report when we hear next from the homebuilder three months from now.

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