New home sales rise for second time in three months


Call it more modest progress in the U.S. housing sector. New home sales rose 0.3 percent in April, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Thursday, a minor rise, but one that stock market bulls will likely interpret as another sign that the U.S. recession is bottoming. Moreover, it was the second rise in new home sales in three months.

April sales rose to seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 352,000. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected April new home sales to register a 360,000 annualized rate. March new home sales were revised to 351,000 from the previously-released 356,000.

Although April's rise was modest, new home sales appear to have formed a bottom near the 329,000 low hit in January, although economists are quick to caution investors that a double-dip bottom -- or a renewed decline in new home sales -- is possible.