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Investments

Industry stocks see second straight day of gains

HW 30 up 1.6% as PHH, Trulia lead the way

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Housing economy stocks notched their second straight day of gains as the HW 30 equity index (HW30) rose behind strong gains from PHH Corp. (PHH) and real estate search giant Trulia, Inc. (TRLA).

Investors cheered a Reuters report saying that Element Financial was eyeing PHH's financing business. The company last October was said to be considering a breakup of its mortgage and auto fleet leasing businesses, after activist investor Orange Capital took a 5% stake in the business and called for a break-up of the company's assets.

Shares in PHH rallied towards the end of the day (and late, rising 1.1% after hours), moving to an official close of $24.88, up 4.9%.

 Element, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, provides financing to companies that buy cars and truck fleets, helicopters and more. The company's Canadian stock share price closed higher on Wednesday as well. 

Trulia saw shares rise 4.4% to $38.36, nearing their 2014 high. No major news drove the shares higher, as investors are likely looking to position ahead to the company's upcoming earnings report for the fourth quarter of last year.

The financial sector was buoyed by continued strong earnings, as Bank of America (BAC) beat on earnings and revenue, leading the stock to close up 2.3% at $17.15. JPMorgan Chase (JPM), up 3% to $59.49, and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), up 1.8% to $46.50, also saw jumps as well.

Mortgage lending tech specialist Ellie Mae (ELLI) headed up Wednesday's laggards, dropping 1.55 to close at $25.35, as rumors spread that the company's planned M&A activity would be postponed by negative currents in the broader mortgage industry.

The Mortgage Bankers Association earlier in the week dropped its origination forecast for 2014, citing heightened regulations. The industry trade group now expects originations to come in at $1.12 trillion, shaving $57 billion from its original forecast.

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