Earnings Preview: Lowe's backs FY12 EPS view $1.64, flat revenue


Lowe's Companies (LOW), a home improvement retailer, is scheduled to report Q4 before the market open on Monday, February 25, with a conference call scheduled for 9:00 am ET... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of 23c on revenue of $10.83B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 20c-28c on revenue of $10.64B-$11.2B... LAST QUARTER: Lowe's reported Q3 EPS of 35c including charges against estimates for 35c on revenue of $12.1B against estimates for $11.91B. Q3 results included charges related to long-lived asset impairments, discontinued projects, and a change in the discount rate applied to self-insurance claims which, in the aggregate, reduced pre-tax earnings for Q3 by $85M and diluted EPS by 5c. In December, the company backed its FY12 EPS view of $1.64 against estimates for $1.72 and its revenue view of approximately flat against estimates of $50.3B. The company also reiterated its FY12 same-store sales view of a 1% increase. On its analyst and investor call, the company said it was encouraged by recent trends in new and existing home sales and said it saw expansion opportunities in Mexico and Australia. During the quarter, Lowe's named Michael A. Jones as Chief Merchandising Officer... STREET RESEARCH: Stifel Nicolaus recently downgraded Lowe's to Hold from Buy as the firm thinks there's a growing chance that the housing recovery is slowing. Canaccord also downgraded Lowe's to Sell from Hold based on aggressive financial targets, a counterproductive management realignment, lack of traction in store resets, and continued e-commerce investments... PRICE ACTION: Over the last three months, Lowe's shares are up about 10%. Year-to-date, shares are up over 7%.

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