Toll Brothers (TOL): So Much for That Single-digit P/E

By William Trent, CFA of Stock Market Beat

Despite a slowdown in the housing market, the homebuilder bulls have been able to take solace in the notion that the very low earnings multiples most homebuilding stocks boast would cushion the stocks from further downside. Unfortunately, the E can change as much or more as the P.

Toll posts lower profit – Yahoo! News

In its fiscal fourth quarter that ended on October 31, profit fell to $173.8 million, or $1.07 per share, from $310.3 million, or $1.84 per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected $1.06 per share.Toll said it expected earnings of $1.58 to $2.08 a share for fiscal 2007.

Its shares fell 3.2 percent to $30.90 in electronic trading before the market opened.

The old rule of thumb for cyclicals is to buy when the P/E is high and sell when it is low. The question now is whether it is high enough. But for the record, this discussion is the very reason we remain cautious on semiconductors.

The author may hold a position in the securities discussed. The author’s current holdings are as follows: Long: FedEx (FDX) put options; Intuit (INTU) put options; Nasdaq 100 (QQQQ) put options; Bookham (BKHM; Ballard Power (BLDP); Syntax Brillian (BRLC); CMGI (CMGI); Genentech (DNA); Ion Media Networks (ION); Lion’s Gate (LGF); Three Five Systems (TFS); Adobe Systems (ADBE) call options; IShares Japan (EWJ); StreetTracks Gold (GLD); Starbucks (SBUX); U.S. Oil Fund (USO); Plantronics (PLT) call options; Short: Ceradyne (CRDN) put options; Lion’s Gate (LGF) call options; Dell (DELL) put options; Plantronics (PLT) put options