Stocks to Watch Before Thanksgiving

This week is an abbreviated week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Equity markets will be closed on Thursday and will close at 1 p.m. EST on Friday. As such, I wouldn't expect much volatility in the three full sessions this week. (With that said, this is anything but an ordinary environment, so anything is possible.) The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) will be looking to snap a streak of four consecutive losses, and one closely watched Dow component, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , reporting its results on Tuesday.

Monday
This morning, home improvement retailer Lowe's (NYSE: LOW  ) reported expectation-beating third-quarter results. The company said sales had risen 1.9% to $12.1 billion in the quarter ended Nov. 2. The increased revenue, owing partly to Sandy-related sales of storm-preparedness goods and rebuilding supplies, helped net income rise to $396 million, or $0.35 per share. The company's results have some macroeconomic significance, inasmuch as they may corroborate the "green shoots" that appear to be indicating the beginning of a recovery in the housing market. Lowe's is up 5.6% in premarket trading.

Recall that last Wednesday, Lowe's primary competitor, Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) , beat expectations on the top and the bottom line. In response, the market rewarded the shares with their highest closing value in 12 years!

Tuesday
Strictly speaking, Hewlett-Packard has beaten expectations at least four times consecutively prior to Tuesday's earnings report. However, the company has otherwise systematically crushed investors' hopes and dreams for some time now: The stock chart below tells a depressing tale. The market is looking for EPS of $1.14, a 2.5% decline with respect to the year-ago period, and achieving that would actually represent outperformance with respect to the S&P 500, which registered a 3.7% year-on-year decline in earnings in the third quarter.

HPQ Chart

HPQ data by YCharts.

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