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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:PulteGroup, Meritage Homes, MDC Holdings, Ryland Group and NVR

CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE:PHM), Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE:MTH), MDC Holdings Inc. (NYSE:MDC), The Ryland Group, Inc. (NYSE:RYL) and NVR, Inc (NYSE:NVR).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

PulteGroup Hits 52-Week High

One of the leading homebuilders in the U.S, PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE:PHM) reached a 52-week high of $20.54 on Jan 17, 2013.

PulteGroup, on the back of its significant land positions, broad geographic and product diversity, and better capital position, is gaining momentum from the fast improving housing fundamentals. With the housing recovery, there has been a drop in inventory levels and an increase in home prices.

PulteGroup has been witnessing increasing earnings estimates, before the release of its fourth quarter 2012 earnings. The upward movements of the estimates reflect rising expectations for significantly higher year-over-year earnings growth rates in fiscal 2012 and 2013. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 10.00%.

Pulte has witnessed solid year-over-year growth in new home orders, average selling prices and home closings for the past two quarters. Margins have also been healthy, driven by pricing benefits, operating efficiency improvement initiatives and a better mix of sales, particularly of move-up homes.

Pulte has delivered positive earnings surprises in three of the past four quarters with an impressive average earnings surprise of 77.5% in the trailing four quarters.

We are encouraged by Pulte's solid third quarter results and bullish growth projection for the upcoming quarters, backed by gradually recovering homebuilding market.

Other Stocks to Consider

With the housing market recovering steadily, many other stocks in the homebuilding sector are currently performing well. These include Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE: MTH) and MDC Holdings Inc. (NYSE: MDC) both with Zacks Rank #1(Strong Buy) and The Ryland Group, Inc. (NYSE: RYL) and NVR, Inc (NYSE: NVR) both having a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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