D. R. Horton Shares Boosted as Arkansas Best Falls Post Earnings

D. R. Horton Inc. (NYSE:DHI) climbed to a profit in the first quarter and beat Wall Street’s expectations in the process. Reported a profit of $27.7 million (9 cents per diluted share) in the quarter. D. R. Horton Inc. had a net loss of $20.4 million or a loss 6 cents per share in the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 15.5% to $885.6 million from the year earlier quarter. DHI beat the mean analyst estimate of 5 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $896.9 million.

Donald R. Horton, Chairman of the Board, said, “We are off to a strong start in fiscal 2012. We were profitable in our first quarter and are focused on being profitable each quarter and for the entire fiscal year. Our net sales orders, homes closed and sales order backlog all increased by double-digit percentages over the prior year quarter. We are looking forward to the spring selling season with cautious optimism. We are positioned for growth, and we remain committed to controlling our construction costs, SG&A and inventory levels while maintaining our strong balance sheet and liquidity.”

Competitors to Watch: PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), KB Home (NYSE:KBH), Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), Toll Brothers, Inc. (NYSE:TOL), The Ryland Group, Inc. (NYSE:RYL), NVR, Inc. (NYSE:NVR), M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:MDC), Standard Pacific Corp. (NYSE:SPF) and Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE:MTH).

Arkansas Best Corporation (NASDAQ:ABFS) climbed to a profit in the fourth quarter, but still came up short of analyst expectations. Reported a profit of $1.4 million (5 cents per diluted share) in the quarter. Arkansas Best Corporation had a net loss of $3.1 million or a loss 12 cents per share in the year earlier quarter. Revenue fose 5% to $463.2 million from the year earlier quarter. ABFS reported adjusted net income of 8 cents per share. By that measure, the company fell short of mean estimate of 25 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $472.1 million.

“Arkansas Best’s profitable results for the fourth quarter and full year reflect an improving business environment as characterized by revenue growth in each of our operating segments. ABF’s full-year results represent an important step toward achieving our goal of returning to historical profitability levels. For our non-asset-based businesses, 2011 was a year of management focus and investment that laid the foundation for more significant revenue and profit growth in the future,” said Judy R. McReynolds, Arkansas Best President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our employees are to be commended for their successful efforts to address customer needs in an ever-evolving marketplace. They continue to deliver a unique combination of complementary service offerings and value.”

Competitors to Watch: YRC Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ:YRCW), Saia Inc. (NASDAQ:SAIA), Con-way Inc. (NYSE:CNW), J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:JBHT), Roadrunner Transportation Services Hold. (NYSE:RRTS), Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ:ODFL), USA Truck, Inc. (NASDAQ:USAK),  and Celadon Group, Inc. (NYSE:CGI).