Is Lowe’s Catching Up to Home Depot?

“We are keenly focused on improving our core business,” commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “Our level of execution is improving and we delivered solid results in the third quarter. I would like to thank our employees for their continued dedication and customer focus.” He added, “I would also like to express our sympathy for all those impacted by the devastating effects of superstorm Sandy. Our employees are working diligently to help communities recover from the damage. Additionally, our stores as well as lowes.com are official donation sites for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, and Lowe’s is contributing $1 million to the relief efforts through various partner organizations.”

The positive financial results sent shares of Lowe’s more than 6 percent higher on Monday to hit $34.50, marking a new 52-week high. As the chart above shows, the company is still underperforming Home Depot on a year-to-date basis. The stock price of Lowe’s has gained 34 percent in 2012, while Home Depot has increased about 50 percent. However, shares of Lowe’s have outperformed Home Depot over the past three months, and could easily continue to do so after the latest quarterly numbers.

Looking ahead, Lowe’s raised sales expectations for the year, expecting comparable store sales to increase around 1.0 percent. The company expects total sales to increase 2.0 percent, while opening approximately 10 stores in fiscal year 2012.

On Monday, existing home sales and homebuilder sentiment climbed higher than expected, sending other housing-related stocks such as PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM), Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) and Lennar (NYSE:LEN) higher.

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