AP News

Earnings Preview: Lowe's to report 4Q results


NEW YORK (AP) — When home-improvement chain Lowe's Cos. reports its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings result before the market opens Monday, analysts will be looking to see if the recovery in the housing market is helping the company as the busy spring season nears.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The housing market has been slowly improving, with home sales and prices rising. Home improvement retailers such as Lowe's are expected to benefit. The chain could also have gotten a boost from cleanup related to Superstorm Sandy and strong demand for appliances.

Investors will also be looking for an update on how Lowe's revamped pricing strategy is faring. The chain has returned to offering what it says are permanent low prices on many items across the store instead of fleeting discounts. In the third quarter, the strategy appeared to be working, helping profit rise 76 percent.

But Citi Investment Research analyst Kate McShane said positive effects from the housing recovery could be offset by uncertainty over how well the company is doing with its merchandising strategy. She has a "Neutral" rating on the shares.

WHY IT MATTERS: Strong sales would be another sign that the housing market is solidly on the upswing.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts expect earnings of 23 cents per share on revenue of $10.85 billion, according to FactSet.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: The Mooresville, N.C., company reported net income of 29 cents per share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $11.63 billion.


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