Some stocks scream buy so loudly that only a fool (small f) would ignore the opportunity. However, many times the stocks that are screaming buys also belong to an industry that seemingly everyone is betting against. This is exactly what has been happening at Toll Brothers Inc (NYSE:TOL). Even after a nice run in the stock, Toll is still too good of a value to ignore.
If you want to gauge the health of the housing market, read the comments in homebuilder's earnings reports. Nearly every company is saying the same thing, they see strength in the housing market. In fact, Toll Brothers Inc (NYSE:TOL) has been making comments about the strength of the housing market in successive quarterly reports for the last year. Their competitors Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), KB Home (NYSE:KBH), and PulteGroup Inc (NYSE:PHM) have been making similar comments as well. As proof that some things never change, this reminds me of the negative perception of the group when Peter Lynch found opportunity years ago.
Lynch noticed more than 20 years ago that the homebuilding segment was out of favor. However, the “quiet facts” suggested a housing turnaround. A similar situation is happening today. Everyone knows that the housing market has been terrible, mortgage rates are still at multi-decade lows, and the difference between renting and buying is extremely favorable for people looking to buy. Despite all of this, what most people hear from the mainstream media is that housing is in a funk. The question for investors is, who's right?
If one homebuilder were showing positive results, but others were reporting problems I would be inclined to avoid the industry. However, when multiple companies are showing positive results, I tend to believe the industry as a whole is rebounding. If you look at Toll's last quarterly results, it seems clear the housing market is improving.
Toll reported significant revenue and EPS growth in their last quarterly report, and this was no flash in the pan. The company's 48% revenue growth and 81.71% adjusted EPS growth were just the most recent examples of this company's huge growth in the last year. The fact that Toll has beaten analyst expectations by an average of 312% per quarter in the last four quarters just shows that even analysts have been caught off guard. What was even more impressive were Toll's numbers beyond the headlines.