Homebuilder Confidence At Record Low For Second Month Straight

Includes: ITB, XHB
by: Judith Levy

Homebuilder stocks took a hit Monday after an index was released showing that builder confidence has not risen in November from its October level -- which was the worst since the index was started in January 1985. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index posted a confidence index for November of 19, unchanged from the upwardly revised October figure. The index measuring builders' view of buyer traffic ticked up to 17 from 15 in October, but the subindex measuring the way builders see the market six months from now dropped to a record low 25 from 26 last month. Fifty-seven percent of builders surveyed expect the market to remain poor at that point versus 5.7% with a more optimistic view. "The homebuilding industry is certainly picking up the impact of the credit crunch," said Scott Anderson, senior economist at Wells Fargo. "Inventories remain too high, and builders will be cutting back on construction in the months ahead." On Tuesday, D.R. Horton will report fiscal Q4 results and the U.S. Census Bureau will release housing starts data. Economists are forecasting a 2% drop in starts from last year to 1.175 million. Following Monday's report, the S&P supercomposite index covering 15 of the largest homebuilders fell 6.5%. Lennar shed 8.7% to close at $17.57, Pulte Homes 8.1% to $11.80, and the Ryland Group 7.2% to $24.11.

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