U.S. Markets closed

Homebuilders rally as Summer exits Fed race

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of homebuilders jumped Monday, after Larry Summers, who had been the front-runner to replace Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, withdrew his name from consideration.

Summers was expected to rein in the government's stimulus program, which could have pushed interest rates higher, including rates for mortgages.

Higher mortgage rates could keep people from buying homes. With that risk less likely, now that Summers is out of the picture, investors pushed most homebuilder shares higher. President Barack Obama is expected to nominate a Federal Reserve chairman as early as this month.

The twist in the race for the top seat at the Fed comes before the release Tuesday of the National Association of Homebuilders' housing index, and also a government report Wednesday on new home construction.

Most economists believe that the Commerce Department will report a rise in construction activity, but with interest rates already rising, shares in the sector have been under pressure in recent weeks.

Here's how homebuilder shares are doing in midday trading Monday:

—Beazer Homes USA Inc. rose 44 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $18.48.

—DR Horton Inc. rose 75 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $19.89.

—Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. fell 6 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $5.25.

—KB Home rose 61 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $17.59.

—Lennar Corp. rose $1.19, or 3.5 percent, to $35.64.

—MDC Holdings Inc. rose $1.30, up 4.4 percent, to $30.86

—Meritage Homes Corp. rose 97 cents, to 2.3 percent, to $43.78.

—PulteGroup Inc. rose 74 cents, or 4.5 percent. to $17.26

—Ryland Group Inc. rose $1.61, or 4.2 percent, to $39.92.

—Standard Pacific Corp. rose 8 cents, or 1 percent, to $7.86.

—Toll Brothers Inc. shares rose 97 cents, or 3 percent, to $33.24.