Homebuilder exchange traded funds were set to end the week on a high note after a report Friday that U.S. housing starts rose nearly 6% in July.
The iShares US Home Construction (NYSEArca: ITB) and SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSEArca: XHB) were both up more than 1% after their notable turnarounds on Thursday. Homebuilder industry confidence is at its highest levels in nearly eight years, according to a report released Thursday. [Homebuilder ETFs Climb]
The housing ETFs saw a jump in trading volume during Thursday’s rally. In fact, ITB saw its highest volume ever with over 22 million shares trading hands.
Still, rising mortgage rates remain a concern for the housing market and homebuilder stocks.
“I think we are looking at a situation that some air is coming out of the housing recovery given the higher mortgage rates,” said Michael Hanson, senior economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in a Reuters report. “At this point, affordability has not changed that much on a historical basis. Housing affordability remains high, but fundamentals are less favorable for new buyers than they were a couple of months ago.”
From a technical standpoint, this could simply be an oversold bounce for the builder ETFs. Also, ITB has seen the 50-day moving average cross below the 200-day moving average.
Homebuilders came into Thursday’s session as “one of the most oversold groups,” said Jonathan Krinsky, a technical analyst at Miller Tabak, in a MarketWatch report. He said even with a spike higher in rates, builders managed to make “red-to-green reversals.” The NAHB news helped, he said, but it also means a “short-term reversal could be in place.”
iShares US Home Construction
Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own XHB.
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