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International DIY News

Lowe's raises full-year profit and sales forecast

Lowe's, the No. 2 U.S. home-improvement retailer, on Wednesday raised its full-year profit and sales forecast as home owners boosted spending on renovations.

The company's shares moved higher in trading following the report.

The company posted third-quarter earnings of 59 cents per share, up from 47 cents a share in the year-earlier period, on revenue of $13.70 billion.

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 58 cents a share on $13.55 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Same-store sales were up 5.1 percent in the quarter, the company said.

Lowe's also projected full-year earnings per share of $2.68, and forecast an increase in same-store sales of 3.5 percent to 4 percent for the year from its previous forecast of 3.5 percent.

U.S. homebuilder sentiments have improved in the past three months as the job market firmed up, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Lowe's raised its profit forecast to $2.68 per share from $2.63. The company also said it expects sales to grow 4.5-5 percent for the year ending Jan. 30, 2015, which translates to sales of $55.82 billion to $56.09 billion.

It had previously forecast sales growth of 4.5 percent.

Analysts on average were expecting a full-year profit of $2.63 per share and sales of $55.78 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"We are pleased with our performance, and continue to be cautiously optimistic about the home improvement landscape," Lowe's chief Robert A. Niblock said in a statement.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to begin raising interest rates next year, which could affect the housing market and have a knock-on effect on home improvement stocks. Throughout the past three tightening cycles, shares of Lowe's and Home Depot have outperformed the market to the very end of the cycles, said Oppenheimer & Co. retail analyst Brian Nagel.

"What that tells me is that these stocks react positively to indications of an improving economic environment, and to the extent the Fed is raising rates because the environment is getting better, that's probably a positive for Home Depot and Lowe's," Nagel said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Lowe's, which operates nearly 2,000 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, previously said it expects revenue in the second half to be driven by increased consumer spending.

Lowe's share prices have increased 18 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed 11 percent. The stock has increased 15 percent in the last 12 months.

Earlier this week, industry-rival Home Depot said fiscal-third-quarter sales rose 5.4 percent from a year ago.

Home Depot also reaffirmed its 2014 revenue growth forecast and said it expects to hand in full year adjusted earnings of $4.54 per share, which would represent a year-over-year increase of 21 percent.

Nagel said he prefers Home Depot stock at this point because it has been the better-run company for the last several quarters.

Source : Karma Allen and Tom DiChristopher - CNBC

19 November 2014

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