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Homebuilder stocks were down in early afternoon trading on news of the continuing decline in existing home sales, moving at the slowest pace in 18 months.

Existing home sales fell again for the second month in a row, falling 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.6 million from 4.62 million in January, and 7.1% lower than February 2013, according to the National Association of Realtors.

February’s pace of sales was the lowest since July 2012, when it stood at 4.59 million.

"Another lackluster housing report," said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Sterne Agee. “Going forward it will take sustainable job and income growth to propel would-be-homebuyers back into the market. But with the labor market uneven at best, it may take some time before the housing industry regains the momentum seen earlier last year."

At about 12:40 p.m. ET, D.R. Horton (DHI) was down 1.78 %. Lennar (LEN) was down 0.68%, and Toll Brothers (TOL) was down 1.59%. Pulte Homes (PHM) was down 0.67%, and KB Homes (KB) was down 1.52%.

The HW 30 – HousingWire’s proprietary index of 30 key housing finance-focused stocks – was up 1.41%, while the major indexes seemed to be stabilizing after the dive they took following the release of the Federal Open Market Committee statement Wednesday.

The Nasdaq was up 0.18% while the S&P500 was up 0.28%

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