Housing Stocks Slide as Building Permits Disappoint

Housing-related stocks are coming under pressure today after building permits, a reliable gauge of future housing activity, fell more than expected in December. Still, last month’s reading, a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 986,000, is just slightly below November’s 5 ½-year high. And housing starts came in slightly above forecasts, with November’s tally revised upward to a fresh 6-year high.

The stocks have been under pressure for months on worries that rising interest rates will hinder the recovery in housing. So far, the data suggest that the housing market has been able to absorb moderately higher borrowing costs. But investors clearly aren’t waiting around for any potential problems to materialize.

The 16 home builder stocks below are down 5.3% in 2014, compared with just a 0.3% slump in the broader S&P 500 (INDEXSP:GSPC):

Home Builder Stocks Under Pressure

Companies with direct exposure to the housing market, including retailers like Home Depot and Lowes, and companies that make the “stuff” that goes into building a home, are falling along with the home builders.  The names below are down sharply today, and are off 2.6% so far this year:

Home Construction Stocks Stumble in 2014