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Some call it "homebuilder extortion" but companies such as Lennar say they're simply trying to cut costs in a struggling housing market.
I’m reporting a story on Lennar today. The sixth largest public homebuilder in the nation sent out an interesting letter to its contractors a few months ago offering them two choices: (A) Reduce your unpaid invoices as of 1-26-07 by a minimum of X [many have reported up to 20%]… or (B) Not reduce your unpaid invoices and be excluded from bidding future work for a minimum of 6 months. Those companies who choose to participate in this request and/or can exhibit the best price possible will continue to have every opportunity for future business with Lennar.
In the wake of a Charlotte Observer report about one area's unusually high foreclosure rate, Beazer Homes USA said it has received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office, which is probing its mortgage origination business. A unique case? Not according to CGM Capital Management's Kenneth Heebner, who says the negative impact of fast and loose lending policy has "only begun."
Stocks closed lower after a new warning from the housing industry kept buyers out of the market. "Even though we may test the lows just because some short-term investors may get out of the way, this market has been really good shape," said Richard Steinberg, president and chief investment officer at Steinberg Global Asset Management. "If we pull back, investors should be reassessing their portfolios and looking to pick up bargains."
A senior U.S. Federal Reserve staff member warned on Tuesday that subprime mortgage market troubles could last as long as two years, while a leading home builder posting a huge profit plunge blamed subprime lending problems for worsening a soft housing sector.
Lennar said first-quarter profit tumbled 73% on continued softness in the housing market, and warned it doesn't expect to meet its 2007 earnings forecast. "While some markets are performing better than others, the typically stronger spring selling season has not yet materialized," President and Chief Executive Stuart Miller said in a statement.
Stocks show signs of weakness ahead of the open today after yesterday's disappointing real-estate data snuffed out the Dow's five-day winning streak. Asian markets were lower overnight, and Europe's major markets are mostly higher.
Is the housing sector doing better than consumers think -- or are some contrarian market boosters guilty of "cherry picking"? An economist and a CEO debated the question, on "Morning Call."
Toll Brothers today said its first-quarter profit plunged 67% compared with last year; the luxury-home builder's CEO, Robert Toll, said there are still too many soft markets. Which raises the question: Has the bottom come at last? Two analysts called it two different ways on "Power Lunch."
Stocks inched their way to a positive close after a sharp reversal in oil eased selling pressure and a late buying spree broke out in internet stocks.
Stocks suffered their biggest pullback in two months as a disappointing bond auction and a lackluster report on sales of existing homes halted the market's two-day rally.
U.S. stocks closed lower after oil prices staged a late rally, while weakness in technology dragged down the Nasdaq.
Lennar, one of the nation's largest home builders, reported a sharp fourth-quarter loss after writing down the value of its property investments amid a weakening housing market.
Stocks in the U.S. are seeking direction and are looking mostly higher in mixed action ahead of the open. Earnings news from big names like Intel and J.P. Morgan are making headlines, and the markets are watching for PPI inflation data this morning and the Fed's Beige Book at 2 pm. Oil slumped below $51 a barrel this morning after a deep slide yesterday.
Lennar Corp., one of the nation's largest homebuilders, said Tuesday it expected a fourth-quarter loss as the company reevaluates how much its inventory is worth as the industry has been slowing.
Shares of home builders each gained more than 1%, with the overall Dow Jones Home Construction index gaining 10 points, or 1.4%, to 729.58. The index has lost 21% this year, and is down about 35% from its high in July 2005.
The U.S. housing market has certainly gone through a rough patch lately--but there is some good news on stronger home sales--as we've reported. The Commerce Department says new U.S. home sales rose 3.4% in November. Analysts were looking for a gain of 1-2%. But new home sales are still down from a year ago by 15.3%. So--are there any good stock recommendations out there?
Last week the Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson, was asked if the residential real estate market had bottomed. He refused to answer the question. But as we approach the New Year, that is arguably the biggest question in real estate. The spring season is right around the corner, traditionally the busiest for buying and selling, and many believe it will tell the true story of the state of the market.
Sales of new homes fell in October by the largest amount in three months, a fresh sign of the slowdown in the once-hot housing sector.