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Homebuilders shares up on sentiment report

The Associated Press

Homebuilder stocks improved modestly Monday following an upbeat industry sentiment report.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday showed that, for the first time in seven years, most U.S. homebuilders are optimistic about home sales.

The index moved to 52 this month from 44 in May. It was the largest monthly increase since 2002. A reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index hasn't been that high since April 2006, just before the housing market collapsed. Measures of customer traffic, current sales conditions and builders' outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months also soared to their highest levels in seven years.

The housing recovery is looking more sustainable and some saw the report as a sign that construction could help drive stronger economic growth in coming months.

U.S. homebuilder shares have jumped in the past year as the housing market begins to recover. But after hitting record highs this spring, they have declined modestly.

Here's how some homebuilders' shares fared Monday:

Toll Brothers Inc.: Up 78 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at $33.66

Lennar Corp.: Up 29 cents to close at $39.32

DR Horton Inc.: Up 37 cents to close at $24.26

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc.: Up 9 cents to close at $6.37

MDC Holdings Inc.: Up 82 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $36.56

KB Home: Up 37 cents to close at $22.02.