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Standard & Poor's upgrades rating on Hovnanian

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its ratings on Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. Monday based on recent improvements in the homebuilder's operating performance and liquidity.

The rating agency bumped up the company's corporate credit rating two notches to "CCC+" from "CCC-", keeping it in non-investment grade, or "junk" territory. It also raised the issue rating on the company's existing senior secured debt "CCC" from "CCC-".

The outlook is stable.

S&P Credit Analyst George Skoufis said that the company's operating performance is better than expected and its recent debt issuances helped extend most of its maturities by several years, reducing its overall interest burden.

Hovnanian, based in Red Bank, N.J., said Friday that it expects its fourth-quarter revenue will meet or exceed market expectations, despite delays in home closings stemming from Superstorm Sandy.

Its shares increased 36 cents, nearly 8 percent, to end Monday trading at $5.08.