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Target (TGT) & Lowe's (LOW) Shrug Off Trade War in Q2

Mark Vickery

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Again, we’re looking at a void of pre-market economic metrics this morning, but that’s OK. Aside from a couple major retailers coming out with new earnings results, we also expect a new July Existing Home Sales report at 10am ET. Consensus estimates are for roughly 5.4 million units sold last month, up from 5.27 million reported in June.

The good news for the market this morning comes from big-box retail — specifically Target TGT and Lowe’s LOW, which both outperformed expectations on top and bottom lines for their fiscal Q2 quarters. Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)-rated Target posted $1.86 per share versus $1.61 expected (+$1.47 from the year-ago quarter), on $18.42 billion in sales, which eked out a half-point beat. Lowe’s posted $2.15 per share versus $2.00 expected, on $20.99 billion in revenues, +0.07%.

Both companies have now topped expectations in 2 of the past 4 quarters, illustrating the challenges big-box retail has been facing over the past several quarters. But with trade war pressures with China continue — and may become exacerbated, depending on decision-making by the heads of both states — these earnings reports can be considered resounding successes. At this hour, Target is up 17% in the pre-market, while Lowe’s is +12.5%.

Target has also raised its forecast for fiscal 2020 by 15 cents a share following the quarterly release, though the company did indicate further tariffs might continue volatile trading conditions. Comps were up 3.4% year over year, with nearly half of those coming from in-store pickups from on-line orders. Lowe’s also improved comps, to 3.2%.

Should trading conditions persist for these companies from current trading rates, they may both expect to see their best day in the markets in more than a decade. As much as any recently reported company, with the exception of Walmart WMT, Target and Lowe’s have proven the strength of the consumer in the face of retail headwinds many analysts expected to be more problematic.

For more on TGT's earnings, click here.

For more on LOW's earnings, click here.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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