What happened

Builders FirstSource (NASDAQ:BLDR) stock closed 10.5% higher on Thursday after the company reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 earnings on Wednesday.

The housing supplies distributor beat estimates for earnings for the quarter, reporting a $0.40-per-share pro forma profit -- more than twice the $0.17 that Wall Street had been expecting. Sales for the quarter likewise exceeded estimates -- $1.78 billion versus Wall Street's forecasted $1.7 billion.

Two workers reading construction blueprints

Builders FirstSource has big plans for the future, but no guidance for what it will earn. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

At least that's how the pro forma numbers read. Under GAAP accounting, Builders FirstSource didn't perform quite so well. The company reported a GAAP loss of $0.38 per share for the quarter, its numbers hurt by debt refinancing costs and the accounting effects of tax reform.

Those Q4 charges knocked full-year earnings down to just $0.34 per share -- 73% below fiscal 2016 earnings. Still, sales grew 10.5% year over year, with Builders recording revenue of $7 billion for the full year.

Now what

Management gave no guidance for fiscal 2018 sales or earnings, with CEO Chad Crow saying only that he was "excited... about the outlook for Builders FirstSource for the years ahead" and citing "steady growth" in demand for new homes -- a bullish trend for Builders' business.

For their part, though, analysts are bullish and projecting that Builders could grow its sales as much as 7% to $7.5 billion this year and earn as much as $1.61 per share in profit.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.