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Toll Brothers climbs following housing data, firm upgrade

Homebuilder Toll Brothers (TOL) is rising after the government reported that building permits jumped more than expected in February, and research firm Raymond James upgraded the stock. The number of building permits issued in the U.S. in February jumped 4.6% month-over-month, while analysts were expecting an increase of 2.3%. The government also reported, however, that there were 917,000 housing starts last month versus the expected increase of 919,000. Meanwhile, Raymond James analyst Buck Horne upgraded Toll Brothers to Strong Buy from Outperform. After visiting communities around the U.S., Horne believes that home prices are accelerating across the country, while Toll Brothers is the best positioned company in the sector for the near- and intermediate term. Horne wrote that the company is benefiting from strengthening demand among luxury home buyers, and he placed a $40 price target on the shares. The analyst upgraded several other homebuilders, namely Lennar (LEN), KB Home (KBH), and Weyerhaeuser (WY) to Outperform from Market Perform. In mid-morning trading, Toll Brothers climbed 2.3%, to $35, KB Home advanced 3.5% to $21.10, and Weyerhaeuser rose 1.5% to $30.65