Stocks in the news: Toll Bros., Dell, Harley-Davidson

Some companies making headlines today:

Luxury home-builder Toll Brothers (TOL)reported Thursday morning a much larger quarterly loss of $472.3 million, or $2.93 a share, compared to a loss of $29.3 million, or 18 cents a share, a year ago. Slow sales took a toll on the company's revenues, which fell 42 percent to $461.3 million. But the company said it sees signs of stabilization in the housing market. The company is scheduled to discuss its fiscal third-quarter results in a conference call at 2 p.m. ET.

PC-maker Dell Inc. (DELL) is expected to report lower earnings Thursday, as computer buyers continue to gravitate to low-cost netbooks, which are essentially pared-down versions of laptops. Analysts expect Dell to report it earned 22 cents a share compared to 33 cents a share a year ago. Revenue is expected to have declined 23 percent to $12.6 billion.

Harley-Davidson (HOG) has said it plans to begin selling motorcycles in India next year. The iconic motorcycle maker has established a unit near Delhi, the Asian nation's second-largest city.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is set to begin selling its iPhone in China, a huge cell-phone market that the company has yet to tap. Though popular in the U.S., the iPhone has failed to make inroads in other countries, such as Japan.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will drop the price of its line of Xbox 360 gaming consoles by as much as $100 Friday to encourage sales amid a slowdown in demand for video game equipment. Prices will range from $199.99 to $299.99, for the most expensive "elite" model.

Analyst calls:

  • Citigroup began coverage of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), rating the home-furnishings retailer a "buy." Shares of the company rose 2 percent in trading Wednesday to $37.46 a share.
  • Dollar Tree (DLTR) was raised to "overweight" at Barclays. The company higher-than-expected earnings of 63 cents a share Wednesday, and jumped nearly 5 percent to $50.13 in response.
  • Williams-Sonoma (WSM) started as a "buy" at Citigroup. The home-goods retailer reported better-than-anticipated earnings in the second quarter. Shares rose 11.3 percent Wednesday to $17.21.
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