Lowe's (LOW) is expected to report Q3 earnings before the open on Monday, November 19, with a conference call scheduled for 9:00 am ET. Analysts are looking for a profit of 35c on revenue of $11.91B. The consensus range is 32c-39c for EPS, and $11.78B-$12.01B for revenue, according to First Call. After reporting EPS and revenue that missed analysts' expectations in Q3, Lowe's forecast FY12 EPS $1.64, consensus $1.66, on flat revenue growth, consensus $50.08B. On its last earnings call, Lowe's forecast 2H same-store sales flat and said 2H gross margin should increase, but to a lesser degree than its previous outlook. The company also said its guidance assumed an additional $1.5B in share buybacks. Lowe's said it would take a more cautious approach to the balance of the year. During the quarter, Lowe's formally withdrew its non-binding proposal dated July 8 to the board of RONA to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of RONA for C$14.50 in cash per share. Lowe's said it believed a deal made sense, but said it was "unfortunate" that the RONA board did not recognize the important economic and commercial benefits of the proposal. The Wall Street Journal said Lowe's board wants to hire a successor to CEO Robert Niblock, even though they're not looking to replace him immediately; the new executive would first fill the post of Chief Merchandising Officer. Barron's said Lowe's should benefit from Hurricane Sandy and could surprise investors in its Q3 report. In addition to consumers looking to buy up home repair supplies to fight off the effects of the storm, Barron's notes that there are signs that the housing market is starting to improve. Oppenheimer increased its target on Lowe's as the firm expects the company to benefit from improving demand trends. ITG Research believes Lowe's SSS finished strong in Q3 boosted by Sandy.
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