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Stock Markets Tread Water as Twitter Subscription Rumors Swirl; Lennar Rises on Housing Hopes

By Dan Caplinger – Jul 8, 2020 at 12:16PM

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Stocks came off their highs but were still up slightly at mid-morning.

Wednesday morning initially brought more gains for the stock market, but indexes lost ground steadily as the morning progressed. Just after 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.71%) was up 16 points to 25,906, after being up triple digits earlier in the session. The S&P 500 (^GSPC -1.51%) gained five points to 3,150, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) picked up 67 points to 10,411.

Helping to lead stocks higher, social media giant Twitter (TWTR 2.57%) was up 6%, while homebuilder Lennar (LEN -0.56%) picked up 5%. The two companies are in very different industries, but both see solid opportunities for gains in the near future.

Twitter mulls a move

Twitter shares have rebounded sharply during July, rising nearly 20% in just over a week's time. The social media company has had to deal with some of the same pressures as its peers in the industry, but it also might be looking at ways to boost its revenue.

Controversy surrounding free speech and monitoring posts has been a major issue lately. Rival Facebook (META -0.54%) has gotten the most attention, as dozens of high-profile companies have pulled advertising from its platforms because of Facebook's failure to address concerns about hate-speech posts. Twitter has gotten some of the fallout, as well, as some advertisers have cut off spending on Twitter, along with Facebook.

Twitter logo of a blue bird in flight with beak slightly open.

Image source: Twitter.

Yet even as Facebook continues to lose ground, some Twitter investors believe that the company could move forward with efforts to monetize its platform more effectively. Various tweets discussing the stock referred to Twitter's career page, which includes a listing for a software engineer for Twitter's Gryphon team. Gryphon is building a subscription platform, and some investors are speculating about how best the social media company could make money from subscription-based revenue.

Twitter bulls have hoped for better monetization from the tech stock for years. This latest effort might not prove any more successful than past tries, but shareholders like that Twitter is still in the hunt.

Can housing keep climbing?

Lennar's gain on Wednesday built on advances earlier in the week. Market participants have been feeling more confident about the housing market lately, and that's showing up in several homebuilder stocks.

Stock analysts at Wedbush noted early this week that the COVID-19 pandemic isn't necessarily a pure negative for housing. For those who can afford single-family homes, purchasing a house can be a much more effective way to maintain social distancing than living in apartment or condominium complexes. Wedbush specifically identified Lennar as one of several companies that it saw as undervalued.

Moreover, the housing market is getting support from unprecedented low levels on interest rates. Mortgages are near 3%, and some see rates falling even further from here. Low rates can make homes more affordable, even when prices stay steady, and that's an especially important consideration when many are feeling uncomfortable about job security.

In some ways, Lennar and its homebuilder peers have opportunities regardless of what happens. A full-blown economic recovery could stoke new confidence and lead to greater home-buying activity, while ongoing coronavirus issues could prompt moves based on safety concerns. Either way, Lennar looks poised to take advantage.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook and Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Lennar Corporation Stock Quote
Lennar Corporation
$74.55 (-0.56%) $0.42
Twitter, Inc. Stock Quote
Twitter, Inc.
$43.84 (2.57%) $1.10
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$28,725.51 (-1.71%) $-500.10
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$3,585.62 (-1.51%) $-54.85
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$10,737.51 (%)
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
$135.68 (-0.54%) $0.73

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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