Home Depot and Lowe’s: Cold Weather Against Hurricane Rebuilding

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The country’s two largest home improvement chains, The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) and Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) report earnings tomorrow and Wednesday, respectively. The late season wintry weather is likely to weigh on results at both stores, even though both are also expected to get a little lift from rebuilding following Hurricane Sandy. The weight, though, appears to be too heavy for the lift.

Home Depot is expected to post earnings per share (EPS) of $0.77 on revenues of $18.69 billion. The consensus estimates for Lowe’s call for EPS of $0.51 on revenues of $13.45 billion. The EPS for Home Depot is unchanged in the last three months, while the estimated EPS for Lowe’s has dropped by a penny.

Many retailers ran into weather-related headwinds in the first quarter. Just last week, Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Stage Stores Inc. (NYSE: SSI), and Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) all cited colder weather as an anchor on traffic and sales.

For the home improvement stores, sales of remodeling and lawn and garden products were slower. The lower number of housing starts in April may also be a factor, but the big drop last month was almost entirely due to a slowdown in construction starts on apartment buildings.

Shares of Home Depot stock are down about 0.3% at $76.65 in a 52-week range of $46.37 to $78.54.

Lowe’s shares are down about 0.5% at $42.47 in a 52-week range of $24.76 to $43.55.