September 4, 2014 Comments

On Thursday stocks were mostly down slightly with the S&P 500 down 0.15% and Toronto down 0.5%.

Costco was up 3.1%to $125 on a strong earnings report (and very strong same-store sales in August). It’s another example of a strong and very well managed company that always seems to look expensive but manages to maintain its high P/E ratio. Couche-Tard was up another 3.5%.

Toll Brothers was down 0.7%. I have ran some numbers and I calculate its P/E at 22.5 times adjusted earnings and 20.4 times GAAP earnings. That does not seem excessive given that its adjusted earnings growth has been over 100% in each of the last four quarters. Clearly its earnings growth will slow or flatten now. And the next quarter it faces a high comparable in the prior year. Analysts are worried about a slow-down in signed contracts in the latest quarter months versus the prior year. Sales and earnings lag signed contracts and so this is a worry. Definitely there are some signs weakness in some of its geographic areas. But it has also expanded its geography in the west. Management points to the fact that its business tends to be lumpy and argues that the slow recovery in housing continues. I would continue to judge this to be a good long-term investment.

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