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Homebuilders Twitch on Double-Dip Fears

The latest Case-Shiller home price data sparks fears of a double dip in home prices, but public homebuilders react to the potentially scary news with mixed performance on Tuesday.

(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) - Get Report

,

Toll Brothers

(TOL) - Get Report

and

KB Home

(KBH) - Get Report

-- 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) - Get Report

, was down more than 1.8%, though at mid-day M/I shares had been down more than 3%. The

TheStreet Recommends

Ryland Group

(RYL)

was down close to 0.5%, recovering from a morning drop of more than 2.5% in the morning.

By the Tuesday close, none of the homebuilders had a decline of more than 1%, other than M/I Homes.

In fact, Meritage Homes (0.5%), Pulte Homes (1%) and Standard Pacific (2.7%), were all up on Tuesday at the close.

Lennar

(LEN) - Get Report

was down close to 0.9%, D.R. Horton and KB Home were down less than 0.5%, while

M.D.C. Holdings

(MDC) - Get Report

dropped 0.5%.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

RELATED STORIES:

>>Are Home Prices Headed for a Double Dip?

>>Homebuilder Stocks to Watch in 2010

>>D.R. Horton Comp CEO Up, Profits Elusive

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