Industry News

Some real estate stocks bounce back

Inman Index: Investors pick up shares of title insurers, home builders

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Investors took a new look at housing-related stocks in January and seemingly liked some of what they saw, especially after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates twice near the end of the month. Half of the 10 real estate companies that comprise the hypothetical Inman Index posted healthy stock-price increases in January while the other half suffered further drops in their already-battered valuations. Solidly in the plus column were mortgage lender IndyMac, title insurers First American Financial and Fidelity National Financial, and home builders D.R. Horton and Toll Bros. In the negative column were mortgage broker Countrywide Financial, secondary market giant Freddie Mac, operator Move Inc., lead generator HouseValues and realty brokerage ZipRealty. The biggest winner of the month was IndyMac. Investors pushed up the company's shares to an $8.17 closing price Jan. 31 from a $6.08 opening price Jan. 2, a one-month gain of more than 34 percent. Shares hit a low...