KB Home shares fell more than 8 percent early Friday after the homebuilder reported a narrower fourth quarter loss but warned the home building industry will continue to struggle this year.

The Westwood company reported a loss of more than $307 million (-$3.96 a share) for the quarter ended Nov. 30, compared with a loss of nearly $773 million (-$9.99) a year earlier. The latest-quarter results included pretax charges of $266 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had anticipated a loss of $1.51 per share.

Sales fell 57 percent to $919 million but analysts expected $793 million.

The average sale price of the company's homes fell 6 percent to $232,200. Even so, the company said it achieved positive operating income for the first time in five quarters, excluding write downs of land values.

"Housing market and general economic conditions in 2009 are expected to remain difficult or possibly worsen as the timing of any meaningful recovery for the homebuilding industry remains uncertain," Chief Executive Jeffrey Mezger said in a statement. KB Home is not counting on federal stimulus to support the housing market, although the company would welcome a package.

For the full fiscal year, the company's losses widened to $976 million (-$12.59 a share), from a loss of $929 million (-$12.04) in 2007. Full-year revenue dropped 53 percent to $3.03 billion.

KB Home shares were down $1.13, or 8 percent, to $13.44 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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