Homebuilders Digest New-Home Sales Data

After an initial selloff following the Census Bureau's release of March housing data, these stocks were ticking higher midday.
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Homebuilder stocks rose Thursday even after new-home sales data came in lower than economists expected, a sign of continued weakness in the U.S. housing market.

Sales of new homes totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 526,000 in March, down 8.5% from February and 36% from a year earlier, the Census Bureau said. This is the lowest sales pace since 1991, the last major housing recession in the U.S.

The amount of homes for sale at the end of March remained roughly flat from the prior month, at 468,000 homes. However, the weak sales pace sent the month's supply of inventory to 11, up from 10.2 in February.

The median price of a home was $227,600, down from $262,600 a year earlier.

Homebuilder stocks originally traded lower on the news, but recently rose in midday trading.

Standard Pacific

(SPF)

climbed 2.4%,

D.R. Horton

(DHI) - Get Report

rose 3%,

Centex

(CTX)

lifted 3.4% and

KB Home

(KBH) - Get Report

climbed 2.5%.

The data followed

weak earnings reports

from homebuilders

Pulte Homes

(PHM) - Get Report

and

Ryland

(RYL)

, which both booked large quarterly losses and new order declines. Ryland and Pulte shares both traded higher, up 5.15 and 2.7%, respectively, in midday trading.