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Homebuilders Twitch on Double-Dip Fears

Stocks in this article: DHI TOL KBH PHM MHO MDC RYL

(Homebuilder story updated for closing prices)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The broad market may have been up on the latest year-over-year improvement in the Case-Shiller home price index data, but the homebuilder sector suffered a mid day on Tuesday after the Case-Shiller numbers showed little to no gain month over month.

While both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were down slightly by the end of trading on Tuesday, the homebuilder sector suffered to a greater extent, as fears of a double dip in home prices pushed down many of the big-name builders. However, there were some bright spots in the sector, even as the Case-Shiller numbers provided some fuel to the double-dip theoretical fire.

Housing-market experts have feared a double dip in home prices might be coming after considerable gains made by the Case-Shiller indexes in 2009 . October was the ninth-consecutive month of year-over-year gains, while only 7 of the 20 major metro markets showed improvement month over month through October.

Fears of the double dip in home prices have made a 2010 recovery for homebuilders -- including D.R. Horton (DHI), Toll Brothers (TOL) and KB Home (KBH) -- far from a certainty.

On Tuesday, the biggest drop in the homebuilding sector took place early in the trading day after the Case-Shiller numbers were released. However, by the close of the market on Tuesday, the declines in homebuilder shares were much smaller than a morning sell-off might have indicated.

M/I Homes (MHO), was down more than 1.8%, though at mid-day M/I shares had been down more than 3%. The Ryland Group (RYL) was down close to 0.5%, recovering from a morning drop of more than 2.5% in the morning.

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