Home Depot Earnings Point to New High for the Stock

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Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) reported third-quarter 2013 diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.95 and $19.47 billion in revenues before markets opened Tuesday morning. In the same period a year ago, the home improvement store reported EPS of $0.63 on revenue of $18.13 billion. Third quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.89 and $19.17 billion in revenue.

Same-store sales at all Home Depot locations rose 7.4% year over year and 8.2% in the United States.

As it did when it reported second-quarter results in August, Home Depot revised its 2013 guidance higher following the third-quarter results. Now the company expects revenue growth of 5.6%, up from 4.5% previously and 2.8% originally; same-store sales growth of 7%, up from 6%; and diluted EPS of $3.72 for the full year, up from $3.60 at the end of the quarter and an original forecast of $3.37. Consensus estimates called for EPS of $3.70 on revenues of $78.68 billion.

The company’s EPS guidance is more than 10% higher than the company’s first forecast, and the company has posted nine-month EPS of $3.02. The consensus estimate for the fourth quarter calls for EPS of $0.73, so Home Depot’s own guidance appears to be on the cautious side.

We noted Monday that Home Depot and Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) are very likely to see a fourth-quarter boost from the rebuilding following the devastating storms that battered the Midwest this past weekend.

Home Depot’s CEO said:

Our third quarter results reflect the continuing improvement in the housing market and our solid operational performance.

The recovering housing market once more figured into Home Depot’s results, and it is also quite possible that the downturn in new mortgage applications is leading homeowners to do some remodeling or at least freshening or replacing of appliances.

Shares were up about 2% in premarket trading, at $81.20 in a 52-week range of $60.21 to $81.56. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $85.70 before the results were announced.

That price target has been lowered since the end of the second quarter, but based on the strength of the company’s third-quarter results and the likelihood that sales will rise in the fourth quarter, analysts probably will be taking another look at their ratings and estimates for Home Depot. Lowe’s reports earnings tomorrow, and those results will also figure into analysts’ reviews.