Toll Brothers Comments on Housing Demand

Countrywide Financial reports an increase in mortgage loan fundings in November, the Tribune sees $40 million to $45 million in severance charges for staff reductions, plus more stocks in the news Thursday

Toll Brothers (TOL ) posted $1.84 vs. $1.11 fourth quarter earnings per share on a 40% revenue rise. It says sales results indicate housing demand returning to more normalized levels. It sees $4.79 to $5.27 fiscal year 2006 earnings per share (including 11 cents option expense) on $6.65 billion to $7.25 billion revenue.

Countrywide Financial (CFC ) reported a 35% increase in mortgage loan fundings for the month of November, a 28% rise in monthly purchase volume, and a 28% increase in adjustable-rate loan fundings.

Tribune (TRB ) sees special severance charges in the fourth quarter of $40 million to $45 million for staff reductions. It also says the closing of a Los Angeles Times production facility will result in a non-cash charge of $50 million to $60 million.

General Motors (GM ) confirms that it is in talks with Tracinda Corp. regarding possible representation on GM's Board of Directors.

Texas Instruments (TXN ) narrowed its $3.425 billion to $3.715 billion fourth quarter revenue forecast range to $3.560 billion to $3.705 billion, and 36 cents to 40 cents earnings per share to between 38 cents and 40 cents.

Xilinx (XLNX ) raised its 1% to 5% December sequential sales growth forecast to 4% to 8%. It plans to repatriate $500 million of foreign earnings, take a $27 million third quarter tax charge, and increase the effective tax rate for the year to 23%, up from 21% to 22% previous guidance.

American Greetings (AM ) sees 15 cents to 18 cents third quarter earnings per share from continuing operations vs. previous 70 cents to 75 cents forecast. It cites unanticipated further weakness within its UK operations and disappointing Christmas shipments of domestic promotional gift wrap.

Getty Images (GYI ) expects 2005 results to be at the low-end of its previously announced revenue estimate of $735 million to $739 million, as well as earnings per share of $2.24 to $2.27. It expects 14% to 17% 2006 revenue growth, and earnings per share to grow 25% to 32%, excluding year over year currency variations.

Stanley Works (SWK ) completed the acquisition of National Manufacturing earlier than expected, and sees 2 cents to 3 cents earnings per share dilution in the fourth quarter. The company is to discontinue a small appliance hinge business and divest its UK paint decorator tool business. It sees a 3 cents fourth quarter charge.

RCN (RCNI ) based on solid 2005 performance to date, now expects revenue of about $560 million, at the mid-point of the previous range. It raises its year-end customer count to the range of 405,000 to 410,000, and its earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, to the range of about $85 million to $90 million.

Costco Wholesale (COST ) posted 45 cents vs. 40 cents first quarter earnings per share on a 9% same-store sales rise and 12% total sales rise.

WCI Communities (WCI ) raised its 2006 earnings per share guidance to $5.25 to $5.50 (including the effects of bond refunding). It set a 20% 2007 earnings per share growth guidance.

Korn/Ferry (KFY ) posted 25 cents vs. 21 cents second quarter earnings per share on 16% higher fee revenue. It set a $50 million stock buyback.

Papa John's (PZZA ) sees $1.38 to $1.46 2006 earnings per share. It set a 2-for-1 stock split and a $25 million stock buyback.

Ciena (CIEN ) posted 44 cents fourth quarter loss (GAAP) vs. 87 cents loss on a 44% revenue rise.

SkyePharma(SKYE ) retains Lehman Brothers to review all options for the company in order to maximize value for shareholders.

Learning Tree International(LTRE ) is to restate its financial statements for fiscal year 2001, fiscal year 2002, fiscal year 2003, fiscal year 2004, quarterly periods within fiscal year 2004, and fiscal year 2005, primarily to correct its accounting for income taxes and leases.

Ace Limited (ACE ) estimates net after-tax losses for ACE Group of Cos from Hurricane Wilma at about $250 million, net of reinstatement premiums.

Westwood One (WON ) sees fourth quarter 2005 revenues down in the low single-digits from fourth quarter 2004, and a mid- to high single-digit decrease in operating income before depreciation and amortization. It sees 2005 operating income down in the low to mid-single-digits.

Analogic (ALOG ) raises its quarterly dividend 25% to 10 cents a share.

Cutter & Buck (CBUK ) posted 8 cents vs. 26 cents second quarter earnings per share on 5% lower sales.

Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPDI ) sees $1.125 billion to $1.140 billion 2006 revenue, and $2.67 to $2.75 2006 earnings per share before non-cash stock option expense.

Veritas (VTS ) posted 32 cents vs. 3 cents first quarter earnings per share on a 30% revenue rise.

Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPDI ) sees $1.125 billion to $1.140 billion 2006 revenue and $2.67 to $2.75 2006 earnings per share before non-cash stock option expense.

QLT (QLTI ) cut its $500 million to $530 million 2005 Visudyne annual sales guidance to $480 million to $485 million. It set a restructuring and reduction in the work force that could total up to 46%, and sees a $5 million to $6 million fourth quarter charge. Dr. Mohammad Azab resigned as EVP and chief medical officer.

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