Homebuilder ETFs Soar On Housing Starts

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Homebuilder ETFs were surging in early Wednesday trade following the latest U.S. Census Bureau housing data that showed U.S. home construction is the strongest it's been in four years.

The $1.37 billion iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (NYSEArca:ITB) rallied some 3 percent right off the bat to hit $20.66 a share, its highest level since the spring of 2008. The fund moved even higher by mid-morning, coming close to $21 a share--gains or some 4.3 percent.

Similarly, the $1.91 billion SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (NYSEArca:XHB) gained 2.5 percent shortly after the opening bell and broke through $26 a share to hit its highest level since mid-2007. XHB traded as high as $26.19 at one point Wednesday.

Both ITB and XHB already rank among the top 10 best-performing ETFs of 2012, with gains of 64 percent and 46 percent, respectively, year-to-date, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse. The funds' performance Wednesday was particularly impressive given that the Dow Jones industrial average was actually marginally lower in early trade.

The U.S. Census Bureau said new housing starts in September reached an annual seasonally adjusted rate of 872,000, a number that not only confirmed an increase of nearly 35 percent in housing starts year-on-year, but that also exceeded market expectations.

The latest data added fodder to the view that the U.S. housing market might have finally found a bottom since it started on a steep decline that saw U.S. homes shed more than a third of their value in six years. Many see a recovery in housing as key to any sustained recovery in the broad U.S. economy.

Since late spring, the S&P Case Shiller Home Price Indices have shown the clearest signs of price stabilization in real estate since financial markets crashed in 2008. After slipping to new cycle lows as recently as this spring, U.S. home values have on average bounced back some 7.5 percent, according to the latest data reported for July.

Earlier this week, the National Association of Homebuilders also reported that its builder confidence index hit a six-year high this month.

Year-to-date, ITB has seen net inflows of more than $621 million while XHB has attracted $436 million in net assets in the same period.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , ETFs

Referenced Stocks: ITB , XHB

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