The global health crisis has had a mixed impact on the retail sector. Some segments of the industry have seen sales increase as consumers adjust to the new normal while others are struggling as consumer preferences have changed. Retailers with a strong presence in traditional shopping malls have been hit especially hard while retailers with stand-alone stores have fared much better.
Obviously the sales are being impacted by the nature of the goods the companies sell as well. One segment that appears to be doing well is the home improvement group of retailers. With more and more people working from we are seeing a boom in housing numbers and I’m guessing we are seeing a boom in home improvement projects. Because we are spending more time at home, people are looking to change their living spaces, whether it means buying a new home or modifying their current home to include a home office.
Two of the biggest home improvement retailers, Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW), are set to report earnings next week and both are expected to see solid earnings and revenue growth for the quarter. Home Depot’s consensus EPS estimate is $3.01 for the quarter and that is 19% higher than the company reported last year. Revenue is expected to increase by 16.4%.
Lowe’s is expected to do even better. The EPS estimate is $1.97 and that is 39.7% higher than the $1.41 the company reported in the third quarter of 2019. Revenue is expected to jump by 21.4%.
The sentiment indicators reflect what we see from the earnings estimates as well with higher expectations for Lowe’s than Home Depot. There are 33 analysts following Home Depot with 60.6% rating the stock as a “buy”. There are 31 analysts covering Lowe’s and 74.2% rate the stock as a “buy”. The short interest ratio for both stocks is below average, but Lowe’s is lower at 1.2 compared to 1.7 for Home Depot. What these indicators suggest is that optimism is running pretty high for Lowe’s ahead of the earnings report.
Turning our attention to Tickeron’s scorecard grades for the two stocks, we see a “strong buy” grade for Lowe’s and a “buy” rating for Home Depot. Something to remember about the scorecard grades from Tickeron is that they are based entirely on artificial intelligence and the statistics calculated by the platform—there isn’t any human opinion or bias in the calculations.
The entire comparison shows that the technical analysis is pretty even, but Home Depot actually does a little better on the fundamental side.