Stocks Ease on Toll Brothers Warning

Futures point to a lower open despite oil's decline.
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Stock futures drifted lower Tuesday after

Toll Brothers

(TOL) - Get Report

said it will deliver fewer homes in 2006 than it previously thought.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading about 2 points below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 3-point decline. The 10-year Treasury bond was up 3/32 in price to yield 4.53%, while the dollar fell against the yen and euro.

Oil eased as traders turned their attention to Wednesday's inventory report, which is expected to show gains in crude and gasoline stocks. March crude was recently down 36 cents to $64.75 a barrel, after losing 26 cents on Monday.

Overseas markets were lower, with London's FTSE 100 recently down 0.5% to 5743 and Germany's Xetra DAX off 0.3% to 5651. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.2% overnight to 16,721, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2% to 15,517.

Stocks were mixed in light trading on Monday as investors groped for catalysts as earnings season wound down. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

added 5 points, or 0.04%, to 10,798, while the S&P 500 gained 0.99 of a point, or 0.08%, to 1265.02, and the

Nasdaq Composite

lost 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2258.80.

In a first-quarter sales update, homebuilder Toll Brothers reported a 35% rise in revenue to about $1.33 billion and said its backlog rose 21% to almost $6 billion. But Toll also said first-quarter contracts slipped 21% from a year ago, and warned that 2006 deliveries will be 9,200 to 9,900 homes, down from its old estimate of 9,500 to 10,200.

"Selling homes this first quarter was certainly more difficult than one year ago; we faced a particularly challenging comparison to last year, as signed contracts in FY 2005 rose 60% versus FY 2004," Toll said. "We experienced softening demand, to varying degrees, in a number of markets and continue to be constrained by long delivery times at many of our communities."

To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action, click here

.

Dow component

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

said fourth-quarter net income fell 28% from a year ago to $844 million, or 36 cents a share, reflecting a tax charge on overseas earnings. Adjusted earnings were 2 cents ahead of estimates.

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

made news after the bell Monday by naming Jerome York, a representative of major holder Kirk Kerkorian, to its board. The company made no formal announcement about its dividend, which Kerkorian has urged the loss-making automaker to slash.

Tuesday's earnings docket includes

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

, which is scheduled to report after the bell. Analysts expect Cisco to report adjusted earnings of 25 cents a share on sales of $6.62 billion in the fiscal second quarter. Looking ahead, Cisco is expected to improve the bottom line by a penny to 26 cents on $6.9 billion, or 4% sequential growth, for the third quarter