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Toll Brothers 4Q Net Income Soars On Tax Benefit

By MICHELLE CHAPMAN

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Toll Brothers says its fiscal fourth-quarter net income soared, helped by a large income tax benefit and a 46 percent rise in revenue. The luxury homebuilder delivered more homes and its order backlog increased.

CEO Douglas C. Yearley Jr. said in a statement on Tuesday that higher home prices, low interest rates, pent-up demand and improving consumer confidence prompted buyers to return to the housing market this year.

Its shares rose almost 4 percent in premarket trading.

Last week a batch of government reports showed that rising home values, more hiring and lower gas prices pushed consumer confidence in November to the highest level in nearly five years. And on Thursday an index from the National Association of Realtors that measures the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in October jumped to nearly its highest level in almost six years.

For the three months ended Oct. 31, Toll Brothers Inc. earned $411.4 million, or $2.35 per share. That's up sharply from $15 million, or 9 cents per share, a year ago.

The latest quarter included an income tax benefit of $350.7 million, but the company didn't provide an estimate in its news release of how that affected its earnings per share.

Analysts expected earnings of 25 cents per share for the quarter but typically exclude one-time items, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue increased 48 percent to $632.8 million from $427.8 million, topping Wall Street's forecast of $565.1 million.

Homebuilding deliveries climbed 44 percent to 1,088 units, while net signed contracts jumped 70 percent to 1,098 units. The average price of homes delivered increased to $582,000 from $565,000 a year earlier.

Toll Brothers, based in Horsham, Pa., may benefit by catering to the luxury sector. Its target market includes households that typically make more than $100,000 a year, can afford to make a down payment of as much as 30 percent, have great credit record and an unemployment rate about half that of the general population.

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