Why Lowe's Earnings Are Pressing Toward New Highs

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday. The company posted $0.86 in earnings per share (EPS) and $15.78 billion in revenue, versus consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $0.79 in EPS on revenue of $15.39 billion. In the same period of last year, the retailer reported EPS of $0.59 and $13.24 billion in revenue.

Although total sales for the fourth quarter increased 19.2%, comparable sales only increased 5.1%. Also with this quarter being part of the slow season for home improvement retailers, Lowe’s posted an incredible earnings beat on the quarter. This was signaled by a historically high EPS for this time of the year, a handy gain kicking off 2017.

In terms of the outlook for the coming year, Lowe’s expects to see total sales increase roughly 5%, with comparable sales up 3.5% and EPS at $4.64. The consensus estimates are $4.53 in EPS and $67.66 billion in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year.

As of February 3, 2017, Lowe’s owned and operated 2,129 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

On the books, Lowe’s cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $658 million at the end of the quarter, down from $712 million in the same period of last year.

Robert A. Niblock, board chair, president and chief executive of Lowe’s, commented:

We achieved strong fourth quarter results, delivering comparable sales growth and adjusted earnings per share above our expectations. We leveraged our omni-channel platform, customer experience design capabilities, and project expertise to drive strong holiday performance and capitalize on broad-based project demand throughout the quarter. Our success is a testament to our employees and I’d like to thank them for their dedication and purposeful commitment to serving the evolving needs of customers.

Niblock added:

We’ve entered 2017 well-positioned to capitalize on a favorable macroeconomic backdrop for home improvement by continuing to execute on our strategies to expand customer reach and develop capabilities to anticipate and support their needs. We remain committed to making productivity a core strength and investing in future capabilities that will add the most value for customers. We have the vision, the drive, the plan, and the leadership team to deliver long-term value for customer and shareholders.

Shares of Lowe’s closed Tuesday down 2.7% at $74.37, with a consensus analyst price target of $81.35 and a 52-week trading range of $64.87 to $83.65. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was up 8% at $80.33 in early trading indications Wednesday.