WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- An unexpected jump in construction spending in June sent shares of homebuilders rallying in afternoon trading.
The Commerce Department said on Monday that construction spending increased 0.3% during the month, surpassing analysts' forecasts of a 0.5% decline.
The news sent shares of Toll Brothers (TOL - Get Report) up 1.6% to $19.87, Pulte Homes (PHM - Get Report)grew 3% to $11.70, Centex (CTX) spiked 4% to $11.32, KB Home (KBH - Get Report) grew 3% to $17.20 and Lennar (LEN - Get Report) jumped 3% to $12.18.
But results were still 10.2% below last year's level.Residential construction, which inched up 0.5%, drove the better-than-expected results. Public construction increased 1%, its biggest jump since March, and federal government construction grew 1.9%, the most since December 2008. This is just another positive in the growing list of good news in the housing sector. Last week the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index saw its first monthly increase in three years, new home sales grew 11% in June and existing home sales grew 3.6% during the month. -- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.