D.R. Horton, Inc. this morning reported a net loss of $128.8 million ($0.41 per diluted share) for its fiscal first quarter ended December 31, 2007, missing Wall Street estimates by $0.16 per share, down from a profit of $107.9 million, or $0.35 per share, from the year-earlier period.

Horton's home building revenue fell 39% from the same quarter last year to $1.7 billion as net sales orders fell 51% to 4,245 homes and the value of those orders fell 59.6% to $926.1 million. Homes closed fell 35.8% to 6,549; the value of homes closed fell 41.8% to $1.61 billion. Homes in backlog fell 51.2% to 8,138; order backlog value fell 57.3% to $2.01 billion. The cancellation rate for the quarter was 44%.

The company said it took $245.5 million in impairments and write-offs for the quarter.

D.R. Horton said it generated $558 million in cash during the quarter, which was used, in part, to reduce debt. The company said it reduced the balance on its revolver from $150 million to $0, repaid $215 million in senior notes that matured in December 2007, and paid down financial services debt by $282 million, for a total of $647 million of debt reductions during the quarter.

The company ended the quarter with $129.1 million in cash on its balance sheet.

"Market conditions remained challenging in our December quarter as inventory levels of both new and existing homes remained high while pricing remained very competitive," said Donald R. Horton, Horton chairman. "We expect the housing environment to remain challenging." He said the company's goal for 2008 was to generate at least $1 billion in cash flow from operations. "We made an excellent start on this goal by generating over $550 million in cash flow from operations in our first quarter, primarily driven by $476 million in cash generated by reducing our inventories," he said.

Horton stock (NYSE:DHI) was up 1.6% in the first five minutes of trading on Thursday to $15.05.