Profit or loss, Lennar's second quarter results Thursday could go either way.
The average analyst prediction is that the Miami-based company will break even, with the most pessimistic predicting a $0.52 loss compared with a $0.76 loss in the same quarter a year ago and the most optimistic predicting a profit of $0.18.
If it turned a profit, it will be the first "true" quarterly profit (absent large tax refunds) since its first quarter in 2007, said Ticonderoga Securities analyst Stephen East.
Last quarter, the company surprised analysts with a loss of $0.04 per share, significantly less than the consensus of a $0.30 per share loss.
But perhaps of more interest than the company's balance sheet will be its May sales numbers. Lennar, which has a Dec. 1 fiscal year and a May 30 second quarter end, will provide the first big builder look at just how far sales fell when the federal home buyer tax credit deadline expired April 30.
Last quarter, CEO Stuart Miller predicted there wouldn't be much of a fall.
"The ending of the program is going to come in an orderly fashion, and it won't be as dramatic as some of them think it will be," he said.
Lennar looked good moving into quarter two with a backlog up 34% to 2,204 homes, the greatest year-over-year improvement since 2002.
Any insight into the builder's land-buying activity in the last month will also be of interest to industry watchers. Lennar had been steadily locking up land, looking for lower-priced lots that will give the company greater margin and help it boost community count.