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Earnings Preview: Home Depot sees FY EPS $3.03, sales growth about 5.2%

Home Depot (HD), a home improvement retailer, is scheduled to report Q4 before the market open on Tuesday, February 26, with a conference call scheduled for 9:00 am ET... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of 64c on revenue of $17.69B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 61c-67c on revenue of $17.45B-$18.02B... LAST QUARTER: Home Depot reported Q3 EPS of 74c against estimates for 70c on revenue of $18.1B against estimates for $17.93B and said U.S. same-store sales for the quarter increased 4.3%. The company raised its FY adjusted EPS view to $3.03 against estimates for $3.05 and raised its FY sales growth view to about 5.2% against estimates for $74.2B. On its earnings conference call, Home Depot said the impact of Hurricane Sandy was not included in its guidance and that sales from Sandy may be higher than those from Hurricane Irene. During the quarter, Apple Insider said Home Depot would replace thousands of BlackBerry (BBRY) smartphones for its staffers with the iPhone 4s (AAPL). Home Depot also said it would hire 80,000 associates for the spring selling period... STREET RESEARCH: Oppenheimer upgraded Home Depot to Outperform from Perform citing improving demand trends in the home improvement sector and raised its price target for shares to$76 from $67. Stifel Nicolaus downgraded Home Depot to Hold from Buy as the firm thinks there's a growing chance that the housing recovery is slowing... PRICE ACTION: Over the last three months, Home Depot shares are up just over 1%. Today, ahead of its Q4 earnings report, shares are trading near flat.