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Expect a slightly lower start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) is set to fall by 16 points at the opening bell, according to index futures. Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL) and AutoZone (NYSE: AZO) both reported quarterly earnings this morning, while lululemon athletica (NASDAQ: LULU) announced a shake-up of its management team.
Beginning in housing, the recovery in the market for luxury homes could just be getting started. Toll Brothers this morning said that revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter rose by 65% as the homebuilder delivered 36% more houses than last year. Profitability also improved, with the average home price leaping to $703,000 from $651,000 a quarter back. Toll Brothers ended its fiscal year with a 57% rise in backlog and sees demand continuing to outstrip supply in the home market next year. As Executive Chairman Robert Toll put it, "The supply of luxury homes is still not meeting current demand, let alone the pent-up demand of the last seven years." Toll Brothers also took on significantly more debt this quarter so that it could fund acquisition of a California homebuilder. The stock is up 4% in premarket trading.
Next, lululemon has a new boss. The yoga apparel company said this morning that Laurent Potdevin will step into the CEO position, succeeding Christine Day. The company's founder, Chip Wilson, is also leaving his position as chairman of the board of directors. Potdevin's resume is stacked with retailing experience, including at Burton Snowboards, where as CEO he helped the company build international scale and expand into new product categories. Lululemon could use a boost along those lines: Analysts expect it to log quarterly revenue growth of just 18% when it reports earnings later this week, which would be the company's slowest expansion rate since 2009. Lululemon's stock is up 2.8% in premarket trading.
Finally, AutoZone booked sales of $2.1 billion for its fiscal first quarter, an improvement of 5.1% from the year-ago period. Same-store sales inched higher by less than a percentage point. Still, profit rose by 7.2%, while earnings per share jumped by 16% thanks to the company's aggressive share repurchasing throughout the quarter. The auto parts distributor also saw profitability tick higher, to 51.9% of sales. The stock is unchanged in premarket trading.
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