April 26, 2007 / 4:28 PM / 13 years ago

Home builder shares soar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of home builders soared on Thursday after several companies reported some signs of improvement.

“You saw some glimmers of light, when people weren’t expecting any,” BB&T analyst Todd Vencil said.

Meritage Homes Corp.’s (MTH.N) shares leaped about 16 percent, or $5.20, to $37.75 and was among the top 10 gainers on the New York Stock Exchange. Pulte Homes Inc.’s (PHM.N) shares were up 4.5 percent, or $1.25, at $29.15.

Beazer Homes USA (BZH.N) saw its shares rise 5 percent, or $1.70, to $35.21, and the Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index .DJUSHB, a reflection of the broad home-builder sector, was up 3.5 percent.

After the close of the market on Wednesday, Meritage, which is the 13th-largest U.S. home builder, issued a forecast for the year that easily surpassed the analysts average forecast.

Meritage reported a quarterly profit and said markets in Arizona and Texas, where the company has traditionally had a strong presence, showed solid sales.

Pulte, which issued quarterly financial results shortly after, also said on Thursday that Arizona was a healthier market. Pulte, the No. 2 U.S. home builder, reported a loss and declined to issue a forecast for the year.

Beazer on Thursday said new orders fell just 3 percent, while some analysts were predicting a fall of 40 percent or more.

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