Madlen Read
Associated Press
November 11, 2008

Homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. and coffee chain Starbucks Corp. helped send Wall Street sharply lower Tuesday after giving investors more evidence that the housing market and consumer spending are getting weaker. The Dow Jones industrial average sank more than 200 points.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

With the government and bond markets closed for Veterans Day, no economic reports are scheduled. But corporate earnings reports were enough to show investors that the economy is still flagging, perhaps more than Wall Street has anticipated.

Toll Brothers said fourth-quarter revenue fell 41 percent from the year-ago period. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Toll said in a statement the company was “upended by the past month’s financial crisis,” and that the economic uncertainty made it difficult to predict what its profit would be next year.

Meanwhile, Starbucks reported lower sales across the coffee chain, leading to profits that fell below analysts’ expectations. The quarter’s results came at the end of a transition year for the coffee retailer, in which former Chief Executive Howard Schultz returned as CEO and chairman.

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