Why Meritage Homes Corp's Shares Plunged Today

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 Meritage Homes Corp (NYSE: MTH  ) dropped as much as 10% today after the company reported earnings.

So what: Homes closed in the first quarter were up 5%, to 1,109, and revenue jumped 21%, to $408.3 million, but fell short of the $438 million estimate. On the bottom line, net income more than doubled, to $25.4 million, or $0.62 per share, but fell $0.02 short of estimates. 

Now what: This is more of a sign of the macro environment in housing than a specific problem at Meritage. Unit sales were down overall in the first quarter, and I actually think Meritage did a nice job shifting to higher-end homes, where sales are more brisk. This is a short-term challenge, and I don't see a reason for long-term investors to panic today.

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