Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Misc: Lennar reports 33% increase in orders, Richmond Fed survey shows slower Expansion, Consumer confidence declines

by Bill McBride on 3/27/2012 10:27:00 AM

From Lennar:

"New sales orders in the first quarter were encouraging. We have seen the market stabilize, driven by a combination of low home prices and low interest rates, making the decision to purchase a new home more attractive, compared to the heated rental market. We recorded our strongest first quarter sales since 2008, with new orders increasing 33% year-over-year. We have been able to increase sales prices and have started to reduce sales incentives in some of our communities. We have also seen a noticeable improvement in our sales pace per community, which should lead to a significant increase in the operating leverage of our homebuilding segment in the second half of the year." [said Stuart Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Lennar Corporation]
• From the Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Growth Moderates In March; Expectations Remain Positive
In March, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity — our broadest measure of manufacturing — declined thirteen points to 7 from February's reading of 20. Among the index's components, shipments lost twenty-three points to 2, new orders dropped ten points to finish at 11, and the jobs index moved down seven points to end at 6.
This suggests slower growth in March.

• From MarketWatch: March consumer-confidence gauge declines to 70.2
A gauge of U.S. consumer confidence declined in March due to lower employment expectations, while views on the present situation rose to the highest level since 2008, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The consumer-confidence gauge fell to 70.2 in March from a February reading of 71.6.