Shares of home builders were broadly lower Wednesday, after data showing February housing starts dropped a lot more than expected, while building permits took a surprise turn lower. The iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF /zigman2/quotes/203468436/composite ITB -1.54% dropped 1.4%, with 42 of 46 equity components losing ground. Among the more active home builders, shares of Lennar Corp. /zigman2/quotes/202536373/composite LEN -1.91% lost 0.6%, Toll Brothers Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201912487/composite TOL -1.68% gave up 1.6%, D.R. Horton Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202032328/composite DHI -1.17% declined 1.1% and PulteGroup Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201694804/composite PHM -1.20% shed 0.9%. Elsewhere, shares of home improvement retailers Home Depot Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208081807/composite HD -1.74% inched less than 0.1% lower while Lowe's Companies Inc. were down 0.7%. In comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.33% gained 63 points, or 0.2%, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.54% slipped 0.6%.