Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bookkeeping: Selling 25% of Lennar (LEN) on "Surprising" Existing Home Sales

Once again, as predicted, the market was "surprised" by improving home sales data this morning, as we enter the spring season.  Which means April, May and June data should be even more "surprising".  This is a complete repeat of 2009.
  • Home sales rose more than expected in March, reversing three months of declines, as government incentives drew in buyers and kicked off what's expected to be a strong spring selling season.
  • Sales of previously occupied homes rose 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million last month, the highest level since December, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. February's sales figures were revised downward slightly to 5.01 million.
  • Sales are now up 18 percent from their low in early 2009, but are still down 26 percent from their peak in fall 2005. March's results had been expected to rise about 5 percent to 5.28 million 
  • The inventory of unsold homes on the market was up 1.5 percent at 3.6 million. That's an eight month supply at the current sales pace. 
  • Sales nationally had declined over the winter, eroding gains made last fall and summer. (ugh! this happens EVERY year)  The downward direction troubled economists because the government has taken unprecedented steps to support the housing sector.

I am taking today's "surprising" existing home sales data as an opportunity to sell a quarter of the Lennar (LEN) started on Apr 5th for about an 8.5% gain (sale was just under $19.10).  This is a volatile stock and provides nice trading opportunities - the name spiked on call activity last week but I did not sell any, and as of Goldman Friday I had given up all my unrealized gains.  Hence this time around I am going to take profits on some portion.  With the move the past few days, this stock had become the largest long position in the portfolio.

If Lennar keeps running, I'll take some more off over time... if it comes back in, I'll buy some more as long as that 50 day moving average holds.   Today's move has the stock going to new highs so as long as the market cooperates, its momentum may keep going.

Long Lennar in fund; no personal position

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