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Things You Need to Know Before Lowe's (LOW) Q4 Earnings

Zacks Equity Research

Lowe's Companies, Inc. LOW is scheduled to report fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 numbers on Feb 27, before the opening bell. In the last reported quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 7.2%. However, in the trailing four quarters, this home improvement retailer’s bottom line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 2.2%. Let’s see what’s in store for the company this time around.

How are Estimates Faring?

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter earnings is pegged at 80 cents, reflecting an 8.1% increase from 74 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. Notably, the consensus mark has remained stable over the past 30 days. For revenues, the consensus mark stands at $15,720 million, mirroring a 1.5% improvement from the year-ago quarter’s tally.

For fiscal 2018, the consensus estimates for the top and bottom lines are pegged at $71.39 billion and $5.11, respectively.

Lowe's Companies, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Lowe's Companies, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Lowe's Companies, Inc. Quote

Factors at Play

Lowe's has been focusing on augmenting sales, containing costs and improving cash flow generation from operations. To meet these goals, the company is undertaking a better customer-centric approach and exploring market opportunities via merchandising efforts and omni-channel endeavors. For fiscal 2018, management forecasts total sales growth of approximately 4%, with comparable sales expected to rise about 2.5%. Adjusted earnings are projected to be in the band of $5.08-$5.13 per share.

Apart from these, the company is streamlining its store portfolio, which along with its strategy of enhancing customer shopping experience with advanced technology and inventory rationalizing, is likely to generate incremental sales. There lies a significant opportunity to enhance pro-sales.

Meanwhile, Lowe’s is on track with its plans to exit Mexico retail operations, Orchard Supply Hardware business and certain non-core businesses in U.S. home improvements including Alacrity Renovation and Iris Smart Home. The decision is likely to enable the company to focus more on prospective areas such as home improvements, home furnishing products, repair and maintenance.

As part of its exiting certain operations and non-core businesses, management had earlier stated that the company is likely to incur incremental pre-tax costs of $460-$580 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Lowe’s envisions operating margin to decline in the range of 240-255 basis points, including 135-150 basis points from charges related to strategic reassessment.

What Does the Zacks Model Say?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Lowe's is likely to beat estimates in fourth-quarter fiscal 2018. This is because a stock needs to have both — a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) and a positive Earnings ESP — for this to happen. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Though Lowe's has a Zacks Rank #3, its Earnings ESP of -3.41% makes surprise prediction difficult. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Stocks With Favorable Combination

Here are some other companies you may want to consider as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements to post earnings beat.

Fastenal Company FAST has an Earnings ESP of +1.13% and a Zacks Rank #2.

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. AEO has an Earnings ESP of +0.60% and a Zacks Rank #2.

The Home Depot, Inc. HD has an Earnings ESP of +1.22% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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