(Corrects last paragraph to say Lowe's shares rose about 34
percent in the past year, not 25 percent)
Feb 26 Lowe's Cos Inc reported strong
sales growth in the fourth quarter, showing that the No. 2 U.S.
home improvement retailer was closing in on market leader Home
Lowe's shares rose as much as 7 percent in premarket trading
The company said its net sales rose 5.6 percent to $11.66
billion in the fourth-quarter ended Jan. 31. Analysts on average
were expecting sales of $11.67 billion, according to Thomson
Lowe's posted a 3.9 percent rise in comparable store sales.
Home Depot reported a 3 percent decline in overall sales on
Tuesday, which some analysts viewed as an indication that the
recent U.S. housing recovery was losing momentum.
Lowe's said it expects 2014 total sales to rise by about 5
percent. That translates to about $56.07 billion.
The company also forecast earnings of about $2.60 per share
for the year ending Jan. 30, 2015.
Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $2.64 per
share on sales of $56.25 billion.
Lowe's net income rose to $306 million, or 29 cents per
share, in the fourth quarter from $288 million, or 26 cents per
share, a year earlier. Analysts on average were expecting a
profit of 31 cents per share.
The Mooresville, North Carolina-based company also said its
board has authorized an additional $5 billion share repurchase
Lowe's shares rose about 34 percent in the year to Tuesday's
close of $48.11 on the New York Stock Exchange. They trade at
18.03 times forward earnings, while Home Depot shares trade at
(Reporting by Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by