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Sector Snap: Homebuilder stock rise on strong 1Q

NEW YORK (AP) -- Homebuilder stocks got a boost Friday after D.R. Horton Inc. said its fiscal second-quarter net income nearly tripled to beat Wall Street expectations, marking another sign that the housing market continues to recover.

The industry took a big hit during the Great Recession and the years that followed, but have seen their fortunes improve over the last year as improving economic conditions and record-low interest rates have drawn potential homebuyers back to the market.

The quarterly results backed up a raft of recent statistics. Most recently, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday that U.S. sales of new homes rose 1.5 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000. The gain brought the level higher than February's rate of 411,000, though below January's 445,000 — the fastest pace since July 2008.

D.R. Horton's results came a day after PulteGroup Inc., one of the country's largest homebuilders, said it returned to profit during its most recent quarter, boosted by a surge in homebuilder demand.

Not surprisingly, D.R. Horton posted some of day's biggest gains. It and KB Home both hit 52-week highs.

Here's how shares of some homebuilders were trading Friday:

— D.R. Horton, up $2.12, or 8.6 percent, to $26.65.

— MDC. Holdings Inc., up 94 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $37.96.

— Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., up 16 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $5.68.

— KB Home, up 78 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $23.08.

— PulteGroup, up 56 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $21.35.

— Lennar Corp., up 58 cents to $42.51.