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Markets Jump on Good Housing News

The stock market had a nice gain again today after the Commerce Dept. released data that said housing starts jumped 22% in February, breaking the longest series of declines in 18 years.

Construction began on what works out to be an annual rate of 583,000 homes. Most of the construction activity was linked to apartment buildings. Other data including building permits did not show anywhere near that kind of increase. The numbers could have been a fluke. Or it could be a sign than the bottom of the housing bust may finally be at hand.

Home builder shares took off. Troubled Beazer Homes saw its stock jump 50%, although from 50 cents to 75 cents.

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