Dec. 9 - Luxury home builder Toll Brothers sees revenue and profitability rising next year, but some analysts are more sanguine about its prospects. Fred Katayama reports.
Toll expects to go on a roll next year. Fourth quarter revenues at Toll Brothers rose sharply as the homebuilder delivered a lot more homes at much higher prices. It wasn't all rosy. Profits fell sharply, and price increases and political uncertainty in Washington leveled off demand. But Toll sees that as temporary because of the strengthening economy and the rising fortunes of its wealthy customers. And so, it forecasts rising revenue and profitability next year. Chairman Robert Toll predicts the "supply constraint could lead to a further escalation in luxury home prices above and beyond normal trends." Investors ordered up more of its stocks, sending Toll's shares sharply higher at the open. But Wells Fargo's senior analyst Adam Rudiger was more sanguine, saying Toll's results don't show that home buyer demand has regained momentum. He says its fourth quarter order growth would've been flat if Hurricane Sandy hadn't impacted last year's orders.