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Home Depot (HD) Up 3.7% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Home Depot (HD). Shares have added about 3.7% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Home Depot due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Home Depot Q2 Earnings Beat Estimates, Sales Up Y/Y

Home Depot posted second-quarter fiscal 2021 results, wherein earnings and sales beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year. The company gained from the continued strong demand for home-improvement projects, robust housing market trends, and ongoing investments. However, the company U.S. comparable store sales (comps) growth was affected by reduced demand for DIY projects as consumers moved out of their homes, leaving some of the pandemic-induced habits.

Q2 Highlights

The company’s earnings of $4.53 per share improved 12.7% from $4.02 registered in the year-ago quarter. The bottom line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.43.

Net sales advanced 8.1% to $41,118 million from $38,053 million in the year-ago quarter and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $40,714 million. Sales benefited from the continued robust demand for home-improvement projects. The company is effectively adapting to the high-demand environment, driven by investments in its business over the years and the dedication of its associates to serve customers.

Its overall comps grew 4.5%, with a 3.4% improvement in the United States. Softer-than-anticipated comps can be attributed to the lapping of the high demand environment for home-improvement projects in the year-ago quarter, particularly DIY projects, due to the pandemic. U.S. comps rose 25% in the year-ago quarter.

In the reported quarter, comps were aided by an 11.3% rise in average ticket, offset by a 5.8% decline in customer transactions. Sales per square foot rose 5.3%.

In dollar terms, gross profit increased 5.6% to $13,665 million from $12,941 million in the year-ago quarter, primarily driven by robust sales growth. Meanwhile, gross profit margin contracted 80 basis points (bps) to 33.2% from 34% in the year-ago quarter.

Operating income increased 9.4% to $6,639 million, while operating margin expanded 20 bps to 16.1%. Operating margin benefited from top-line growth, offset by gross margin contraction as well as higher SG&A and other operating expenses.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

Home Depot ended second-quarter fiscal 2021 with cash and cash equivalents of $4,566 million, long-term debt (excluding current maturities) of $33,746 million, and shareholders' equity of $2,069 million. In the first six months of fiscal 2021, the company generated $9,947 million of net cash from operations.

In the first six months of fiscal 2021, it paid out cash dividends of $3,526 million and repurchased shares worth $6,905 million.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in fresh estimates.

VGM Scores

Currently, Home Depot has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a C. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, Home Depot has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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