NEW YORK (AP) -- Homebuilders' shares are getting a lift Wednesday following Toll Brothers' strong second-quarter performance and a healthy housing report.
Earlier in the day, Toll Brothers Inc. reported quarterly earnings of 14 cents per share on revenue of $516 million. That topped the expectations of analysts surveyed by FactSet, who were looking for earnings of 7 cents per share on revenue of $515.5 million.
The company's stock climbed $2.40, or 6.7 percent, to $38.41 in midday trading. Earlier in the session the shares reached $39.25, its highest point in more than seven years.
The good news from Toll Brothers was bolstered by a report from the National Association of Realtors showing that sales of previously occupied U.S. homes rose in April to the highest level in three and a half years. Sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, up from 4.94 million in March.
In addition, rising demand and limited supply has encouraged builders to boost construction. Applications for building permits rose in April to the highest level in nearly five years, according to a report from the Commerce Department last week. And U.S. builders started work on more new homes and apartments in April compared with the same month a year earlier.
The broader market is also reacting positively to comments from Chairman Ben Bernanke, who told Congress on Wednesday that it is too soon for the Federal Reserve to end its extraordinary stimulus programs.
Here's how some other homebuilders are faring:
— Beazer Homes USA Inc. added 33 cents to $22.08. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $23.29 on Monday.
— D.R. Horton Inc. climbed 68 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $26.99.
— Lennar Corp. rose $1.04, or 2.5 percent, to $43.51. Its shares touched a fresh 52-week high of $44.40 on Monday.
— Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. added 18 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $6.02.
— The Ryland Group Inc. gained 61 cents to $49.04. The stock reached a new 52-week high of $50.42 on Monday.
— PulteGroup Inc. rose 26 cents to $23.31. The shares touched a fresh 52-week high of $24.47 last week.
— KB Home climbed 45 cents to $24.15. Its shares hit a new 52-week high of $25.14 last week.