TOL Hints at a Strengthening Economy
June 5, 2017
It’s no secret that I am a major proponent of the notion that traditional family formation is the most important long-term driver of the economy. There has been exhaustive data on this subject. The question now is whether Americans return to more secular traditional values such as marriage, which speaks to a formula of greater peace, prosperity and happiness.
It comes down to a lot of things, but right now all signs point to a reversal of future on the family formation front. And in that case, it’s time we gain exposure.
My Smart Investing subscribers have had success owning housing-related stocks in the past, cashing in on 25% gains in Owens Corning (OC) in November and 12% profits in Tempur Sealy (TPX) in September 2015. I continue to like the trends in housing and signs of household formation reemerging, and while many housing stocks in general are still well below their go-go day highs back in 2005, many are on the cusp of major breakouts.
One in particular I’m keeping an eye on – and have been for some time – is Toll Brothers (TOL), a Fortune 600 company that has been building and selling luxury homes around the country since 1967. It has been ranked the #1 Home Builder Worldwide on Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list three years in a row.
The stock has traded well so far in 2017, and TOL recently bested estimates in its fiscal second-quarter earnings report on May 23. Earnings of $0.73 a share were up nicely from $0.51 a share a year ago, and revenue grew 22.2% to $1.36 billion. Management boosted projections for the year, expecting to sell 6,950-7,450 homes in fiscal 2017. They had previously forecasted 6,700-7,500 homes. In addition, orders, which is a key metric for homebuilders, increased to 2,511.
TOL climbed to a decade high as a result, but it was observations from CEO Douglas Yearly that lend to my belief that household formation is improving. He said that “this was the best spring selling season we have had in over ten years. The number of contracts in fiscal year 2017’s second quarter was the highest since fiscal year 2005’s third quarter and the number of contracts per community was the highest since fiscal year 2066’s second quarter.”
Yearly also said that he believes the company’s “customization differentiates us within our segment of the luxury market.”
As I mentioned, this is a stock I’ve followed for years, and I think it could be an industry leader as household formation continues and the economy gets stronger. The recent earnings report was yet another step in the right direction.