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Lennar tops 1Q earnings and revenue expectations

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NEW YORK — Lennar Corp. on Thursday reported a 47 percent boost in its fiscal first-quarter profit on a jump in home sales, beating Wall Street expectations.

The report comes days after the Commerce Department reported a drop in new home sales in February because of fierce winter weather in the Northeast and Midwest. Housing analysts expect sales of new homes to rebound in spring.

But Lennar reported a 20 percent increase in home sales during the quarter while the average sale price increased by 3 percent. Meanwhile, the financial services unit saw a volume increase in mortgage originations.

"Despite severe weather conditions which constrained production and sales in parts of the country, the housing market continued its slow and steady recovery," said CEO Stuart Miller, in a statement. "Early signals from this year's spring selling season indicate that the housing market is improving, and disappointing single family starts and permits numbers should rebound shortly."

The Miami-based company reported earnings of $115 million, or 50 cents per share, on revenue of $1.64 billion. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 45 cents per share. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.49 billion in Revenue.

Lennar shares rose 40 cents to $50.12 in morning trading Thursday. They have climbed 11 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed 2 percent. The stock has increased 22 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on LEN at http://www.zacks.com/ap/LEN

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Keywords: Lennar, Earnings Report

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