This time three weeks ago, shares of Hovnanian Enterprises were at a seven-year low, trading below $5 apiece.

Four dollars and eighty cents, actually, as of the close on Jan. 9. No doubt investors who’d bought the stock as it peaked above $72 in mid-2005 weren’t too pleased. Even a year ago today, the price was about $36.

The giant homebuilder, headquartered on West Front Street, has been suffering through the prolonged, multi-symptom flu that’s devastated the real estate and lending industries nationally and fueled fears of a U.S. recession around the world.

So when Standard & Poors downgraded Hov’s preferred shares and put the company’s debt on watch with “negative implications” one week after that low, one might have expected the common stock to fall farther. But it didn’t. Instead, it rose.

And it’s kept rising.

Yesterday, the shares closed at $9.99, more than doubling in three weeks.

We at redbankgreen have no insight into what’s going on, or how significant it is. Any Wall Street mavens out there who care to offer up a thought or two?

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