More bad news for owners of homebuilding stocks: For the third month running, the National Association of Home Builders, in cooperation with Wells Fargo
After cresting at a "high" of 22 (you need to break 50 before Toll Bros.
And yet ... why is it that "March of '09" rings a bell? Oh yes -- I remember. Because March 6, 2009, was the date the S&P 500 index hit its recession low of 676 -- before skyrocketing 60% to where it sits today. Could it be we're getting set up for a repeat performance?
Do you see what I see?
Now, I don't want to delve too deeply into Pollyanna punditry here -- the numbers look bad, and there's no denying it. But within the gloom, I do detect glimmers of hope.
Government tax credits for new-home-buying expired in April, you see. Quite naturally, foot traffic through model homes has dwindled, since. But for two months now, the level of traffic has held steady at the "10" level (admittedly, 10 out of 100). Meanwhile, two of the biggest names in home goods retailing, Lowe's
Could the stabilization in foot traffic be a "data blip," or even [gasp!] a pause before the next plunge? Yes. Don't discount the possibility. But on the other hand, one more month of "10"-level prospective buyer traffic could be enough to establish a foundation under the housing market, something that Toll and Pulte -- and Lennar
As hopes go, I admit this is a slim one. But for today, it's all we've got. Tune in again next month, and we'll see if it's got merit.
Take the Foolish Rorschach test. Do you see something different in today's chart? Tell us about it below.
Home Depot, Lowe's Companies, and Wal-Mart Stores are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. The Fool owns shares of Lowe's Companies, but Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. Rich is not a licensed economist, but he plays one on the Web. Check out his latest stock recommendations on Motley Fool CAPS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.