NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks in the homebuilder sector were mixed but mostly lower Wednesday following the latest round of discouraging housing data .
PulteGroup ( PHM), recently added to Goldman Sachs' conviction buy list, led the group with a 1.4% gain, while Toll Brothers ( TOL) and several of the small-cap builders dragged the sector lower. M/I Homes ( MHO) lost 2.9% while Comstock Homebuilding ( CHCI) shed 4.2%. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ( XHB) and iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction ( ITB), exchange-traded funds that track the homebuilder sector, were both trading in negative territory, down 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively. Ryland ( RYL) added 0.7%. Sales of newly built homes plunged 16.9% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, a far bigger jump than expected and the worst rate on record since 1962.
February's new-home sales figure remained 28% below year-earlier levels. Every U.S. region, save for the West, saw record lows last month. The Northeast saw sales drop 57% month over month. -- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to @miriamsmarket. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.