Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is trying to end its four-session losing streak and has bounced back a bit today, up 34 points, or 0.22%, as of 2:45 p.m. EDT. Last week's pullback of 2.2% also revealed some weakness in retail stocks. Last Wednesday Macy's second-quarter results missed estimates on earnings per share and revenue. The next day Wal-Mart also missed estimates on EPS and sales, and both companies lowered their earnings guidance for the year. Fortunately for investors looking to start this week off on the right foot, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) stepped up to the plate.
In fact, Home Depot pretty much hit a home run. The company reported a 17.2% increase in net earnings to $1.24 per share, easily beating estimates. Its comparable-store sales in the U.S. surged 11.4%, helping to post a sales gain of 9.5%. To top it all off, Home Depot then raised guidance for the rest of the year.
Home Depot looks poised to continue recording impressive sales as the housing market rebounds. The company finds itself in a sweet timing spot, as most do-it-yourself home improvement takes place when homes surpass 25 years in age -- and nearly 70% of the market has now surpassed that. Yet the earnings beat and improving outlook failed to impress investors today, and Home Depot is one of only a handful of Dow components trading in the red today, down 0.6%.
Best Buy's stock price has soared this year, up more than 170% year to date. It's hoping to keep that momentum going today, announcing its first profitable quarter in a year and crushing earnings estimates. Excluding items, Best Buy's EPS came in at $0.32, far ahead of the estimated $0.12 per share. Revenue of $9.3 billion beat estimates still declined from last year. Investors have cheered the news, bidding the stock up 12% today.
Call me crazy, but I haven't jumped on the Best Buy bandwagon yet. The company's better-than-expected earnings owe largely to cost-cutting measures, rather than impressive revenue growth. That's not a terrible thing, but it still gives bears reason to believe Amazon is putting a lid on Best Buy's revenue growth. Long-term risks still threaten Best Buy's business model, and the company must stand up to Amazon by reversing its revenue decline and improving its online-shopping position.
Also outside of the Dow, Ford (NYSE: F ) is up 1.2%, and General Motors (NYSE: GM ) has climbed 0.7%. The American automakers have had a rough couple of weeks as they take a break from their respective year-to-date stock gains of 25% and 20%.
The full-size pickup segment is the most profitable, and it's extremely important to the two rival automakers. And as the summer heats, up so have sales. Investors must watch to see whether Ford increases incentives on its older F-150 to keep up with GM's redesigned Silverado. This will have a direct impact on third-quarter profit.
Retail stocks have been hit or miss in recent earnings reports, while the retail space is in the midst of the biggest paradigm shift since mail order took off at the turn of last century. Only the most forward-looking and capable companies will survive, and they'll handsomely reward those investors who understand the landscape. You can read about the "3 Companies Ready to Rule Retail" in The Motley Fool's special report. Uncovering these top picks is free today; just click here to read more.