Why Hovnanian Enterprises' Shares Popped


Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) jumped 10% today on positive news from the mortgage market.

So what: The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications jumped a seasonally adjusted 16.6% last week compared with the previous week. The index of purchase prices also rose 4% from the week before and 11% from a year ago.

Now what: This is a continuation of positive housing data that started after the Federal Reserve announced QE3. All signs are pointing to continuing strength in housing, and that should bode well for Hovnanian in the future. I'm still a little concerned that analysts aren't expecting a profit from the company in 2013, but with earnings beating expectations in the past three quarters by a wide margin, they may just be behind the 8-ball. I'm still not a buyer until I see strong profitability, but there is a huge upside if this data means that 2013 will be much better than expected.

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