Housing Numbers Will Give Glimpse of Future Direction

Includes: ITB, XHB
by: SA Eli Hoffmann

Excerpt from our Wall Street Breakfast, a one-page summary of this morning's key market-moving and stock-moving stories:

AHEAD OF THE TAPE: False Bottom? [Wall Street Journal]

Summary: Since hitting their lows in July, homebuilders stocks are up 23%, but still trail July 2005 highs by 39%. The Commerce Dept. today reports on housing starts and building permits: Consensus estimates are that starts fell 5.6%, but that permits are up 0.1%. If correct, that would be the first up month since February. Yesterday, the National Association of Homebuilders reported that its "builders' assessment" number, while Homebuilders ETF 17 11 06still low, rose for the second straight month. Recently, the University of Michigan saw a sharp swing higher in the number of consumers who say now is a good time to buy a house. Economists differ on where we're going from here: Lehman Brothers economist Ethan Harris sees housings sales stabilizing, while Bollinger Capital's John Bollinger says to be wary of the god-of-the-pits, who, "will allow you to pick the top once, pick the bottom once, and be wrong as often as you choose."
Related links: Commentary: Fed Minutes: Watching Inflation, Comfortable With HousingHousing Bubble and Real Estate Market TrackerHousing Bubble and Real Estate Market Tracker
Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: ETFs: streetTRACKS SPDR Homebuilders ETF (NYSEARCA:XHB), iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction (NYSEARCA:ITB), iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate ETF (NYSEARCA:IYR), iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors ETF (NYSEARCA:ICF)

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