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Toll Brothers Posts Record Profit

The homebuilder beats estimates in the second quarter despite higher interest rates.
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Toll Brothers

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said its second-quarter profit rose 37% to a record high, despite higher interest rates, declaring "demand remains tremendous," thanks to the rebounding economy.

The Huntingdon Valley, Pa.-based company had net income of 72.4 million, or 89 cents a share, vs. $52.9 million, or 72 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $819.5 million, up from $607.9 million in the year-ago period.

The consensus estimate was for 87 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.

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The luxury homebuilder set records in many categories, including revenue, contracts and backlog, during the quarter ended April 30, adding it had record traffic and deposits in May, which bodes well for future construction.

"We don't expect much impact from interest rate fluctuations because we believe the strengthening economy and job growth will outweigh the effects of rising interest rates," the company said. "Today's rates are lower than they were through the entire 1990s, which was a very strong decade for home building.''

Mortgage rates began their ascent about two months ago when strong employment data erased any lingering concerns about the strength of the economy. Rates on long-term mortgages are now a full percentage point higher than two months and even a year ago, but are still low by historical standards.

The company was optimistic about future business, saying it will achieve record results in 2004 and 2005, but without mentioning specific guidance.

Analysts expect the company to earn $4.31 and $4.99 a share, respectively, during the periods.

Shares closed at $41.40 Tuesday.