Home Wealth  Money Housing Starts Dip, Builder Sentiment Improves

Housing Starts Dip, Builder Sentiment Improves

Posted: Nov. 18th, 2011  |  By Forbes

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Housing starts fell slightly in October, down 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000 units. Economists had anticipated a bigger decline in housing starts.

The Commerce Department revised its estimates of housing starts in September, saying construction of new residences rose 7.6% instead of its initial 15% forecast.

Also today, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose three points in November, to 20.

A reading above 50 indicates an overall positive take on the real estate market, but this month's reading of 20 is the highest level on the index since May 2010.

And, the Labor Department said today that initial jobless claims fell to a seven-month low for the week ending November 12.

The count of first-time filings for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000, to a seasonally adjusted 388,000. A check of some home builder stocks following the news:

The iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction Index Fund is trading up .6% Thursday.

The top holding in the fund, NVR is trading up over .8%, while #2 holding DR Horton trades up over 1.1%, and third-largest holding Lennar (nyse: LEN - news - people ) trades up .6%.

The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF is trading up over .5% Thursday.

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