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Why Is PulteGroup (PHM) Up 2.4% Since Last Earnings Report?

Zacks Equity Research
·5 min read

A month has gone by since the last earnings report for PulteGroup (PHM). Shares have added about 2.4% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is PulteGroup due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

PulteGroup’s (PHM) Q3 Earnings & Revenue Beat Estimates

PulteGroup Inc. reported third-quarter 2020 results, wherein earnings and revenues handily surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, buoyed by higher demand. Ryan Marshall, president and chief executive officer of PulteGroup, pointed out, "The dramatic rebound in housing demand that began in May continued through the third quarter, as we generated exceptionally strong sales across all buyer groups and realized a 36% increase in net new orders over last year."

Inside the Headlines

Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.34, beating the consensus mark of $1.11 by 20.7%. The bottom line also grew 32.7% year over year.

Total revenues of $2.95 billion surpassed the consensus mark by 8.2% and increased 9% from the year-ago figure of $2.71 billion.

Segment Discussion

PulteGroup primarily operates through two business segments — Homebuilding and Financial Services.

Revenues from the Homebuilding segment were up 7.7% year over year to $2.85 billion. Home sale revenues of $2.82 billion also improved 7.1% year over year, given higher deliveries and average price of homes closed. Moreover, land sale revenues improved 182.7% from a year ago to $24.2 million.

The number of homes closed increased 4% year over year to 6,454. Home closings grew across most of the operating regions served (barring Southeast and Texas). Average selling price of homes delivered was $438,000, up 2.8% year over year due to the company’s shift in the product mix to include more first-time homebuyers.

Importantly, its backlog — which represents orders yet to be closed — was 14,962, up 29% year over year. In addition, potential housing revenues from backlog increased 32% from the prior-year quarter to $6.6 billion.

However, new home orders grew 36% year over year to 8,202 units for the quarter. Home orders were down across all operating regions served. Value of new orders improved 43% from a year ago to $3.6 billion.


Home sales gross margin was up 140 basis points (bps) year over year to 24.5% for the quarter. Furthermore, operating margin expanded 210 bps to 14.9% as homebuilding SG&A expenses (as a percentage of home sales revenues) improved 70 bps year over year.

Revenues from the Financial Services segment improved 64.9% year over year to $106.9 million. The segment generated a pre-tax income of $64 million, up 98% from a year ago.


As of Sep 30, 2020, cash and cash equivalents were $2.1 billion, up from $1.22 billion at 2019-end. Debt-to-total capital ratio of 30.8% at third quarter-end was down from 33.6% at 2019-end.

Q4 Guidance

Deliveries are expected within 6,600-6,900 homes. That said, at the midpoint, the guided range represents a decrease from 6,822 in the year-ago period. ASP is projected between $440,000 and $450,000, indicating an increase from $429,000 registered a year ago. SG&A expense for quarter is expected to be 9.6% of home sale revenues.

Homebuilding gross margin for the quarter is projected at 24.5% (suggesting growth from 22.8% in the year-ago period). It expects gross margins to remain strong through the back half of 2020.

2020 Guidance

ASP is expected between $420,000 and $430,000 ($427,000 was recorded in 2019). Home closing or deliveries are expected within 24,350-24,650 homes, implying a rise from 23,232 in 2019.

Homebuilding gross margin is guided in the range of 23.8-24.1% (pointing to an improvement from 22.8% in 2019). Adjusted SG&A expense for the full year is expected to be 10.1-10.3% of home sale revenues.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in estimates review. The consensus estimate has shifted 13.64% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

Currently, PulteGroup has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a C. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of B on the value side, putting it in the top 40% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. It comes with little surprise PulteGroup has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.

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