US homebuilders up on broker upgrades

| October 10, 2006 | 0 Comments

The New York equities markets were mixed but close to unchanged at midday on Tuesday as investors waited for the earnings season to get serious. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.1 percent lower to 11,851.89, while the Nasdaq Compsite was nearly flat - up only 0.52 of a point - to 2,312.29 and the S&P 500 had added just 0.1 percent to 1,351.50.

Homebuilders were up as JP Morgan issued upgrades on DR Horton and Toll Brothers. Horton added 5 percent to $25.04 even though it said that new home orders were down by 25 percent in its fourth quarter after JP Morgan raised its recommendation from “neutral” to “overweight”. The broker upgraded Toll Brothers from “underweight” to “neutral”, sending the homebuilder 5.5 percent higher to $30.40. The upgrades also helped KB Home, which gained 3.7 percent to $46.44 despite warning that profits in the third quarter would likely drop by 32 percent.

Supermarkets were higher as well. Safeway added 2.9 percent to $29.59, while Supervalu was 4.6 percent higher to $32.42 on better than expected third-quarters earnings and an upgraded full-year earnings forecast.

With oil prices dropping again, ethanol manufacturer Archer Daniels Midland dropped 2.3 percent to $37.60. On the other hand, Nabors Industries, the oil services group, added 5.4 percent to $29.59 on rumors that it was a buyout target.

In the semiconductors sector, Qualcomm dropped 2.8 percent to $37.27 on a ruling from a judge at the International Trade Commission that it had violated Broadcom patents on a chip and a phone. The judge did not, however, ban import of the phone as Broadcom had requested.

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