Home builders shares fall

Home builders shares fall after rallies, Lennar downgraded

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of homebuilders fell on Monday after an analyst downgraded Lennar and other stocks declined from recent highs.

Homebuilders shares have jumped in the past year as the housing market begins to recover. But after hitting record highs, shares have declined over the past month.

On Monday, JPMorgan analyst Michael Rehaut downgraded homebuilder Lennar, whose shares that have been flat this year while rivals are up 16 percent. The S&P has risen 15 percent. The stock is currently fairly valued, he said, even as results continue to improve as the housing market improves.

Lennar has "modestly underperformed year-to-date," he said, after outperforming its larger rivals in 2009, 2010 and 2011, he said. He downgraded the company to "Neutral" from "Overweight."

Investors will get a better picture of how the housing market is faring next week, when the government reports on housing starts on Tuesday and existing home sales on Wednesday.

Lennar shares fell $1.37, or 3.6 percent, to $37.23 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $24.38 and $44.40 over the past 52 weeks.

DR Horton fell 55 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $23. The stock has traded between $14.98 and $27.75 over the past year.

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. shares fell 16 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $5.97, closer to the high end of its 52-week range of $2.05 to $7.43.

Pulte Homes Inc. fell 48 cents, or 2.3 percent to $20.58. The stock has traded between $20.15 and $21.16.

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