NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (HOV) - Get Report closed up by 1.45% to $3.51 on Tuesday afternoon as homebuilder stocks got a jolt today following data from the Commerce Department which showed a 7.8% rise in new homes sales for February 2015 to an 539,000 annualized pace.

New home sales increased the most last month since February of 2008, Bloomberg reports, adding that the median forecast of 76 economists polled by the publication called for the pace to drop by 464,000.

Job growth, soft but positive income growth, low mortgage rates, and gradually easing access to credit helped to boost new home sales in February, Gus Faucher a senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group told Bloomberg.

"I would expect we'd see further gains over the course of this year," Faucher added.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates HOVNANIAN ENTRPRS INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate HOVNANIAN ENTRPRS INC (HOV) a SELL. This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for HOVNANIAN ENTRPRS INC is rather low; currently it is at 17.91%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -3.22% trails that of the industry average.
  • HOV's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 32.33%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • HOVNANIAN ENTRPRS INC has improved earnings per share by 41.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, HOVNANIAN ENTRPRS INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.84 versus $0.20 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 93.5% in earnings ($0.12 versus $1.84).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Household Durables industry. The net income increased by 41.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$24.52 million to -$14.38 million.
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 0.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 22.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: HOV Ratings Report