Home Depot's Huge Quarter Brightens the Dow's Shaky Day

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.

Stocks have looked shaky all day, and the markets are dipping into the red in the afternoon session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has slipped below the break-even point; as of 2:30 p.m. EST, the Dow's fallen by around 14 points and most blue-chip stocks on the index are nosing down. However, Home Depot's (NYSE: HD  ) holding its own thanks to a strong earnings report that has this stock still shining in the eyes of investors. Let's catch up on the latest.

Home Depot's earnings high
Stocks hit a slight boost to start the day courtesy of the European Central Bank, which admitted that it is still considering quantitative easing measures of its own to solve Europe's troubled economy. Quantitative easing has helped the U.S. in a big way, while stimulus has sent Japanese stocks surging to among the world's best this year and driven the once-stagnant Japanese economy into high gear. Considering how lackluster many of Europe's leading economies, such as Italy and France, have been lately, QE could be exactly what the continent's leaders and investors need.

The big news, however, came from Home Depot. The stock rose 1% to the head of the Dow today after the retailer reported that earnings per share jumped more than 50% year over year to $0.95 per share for the most recent quarter. That topped analyst projections by $0.06. Revenue also easily topped analyst expectations by growing 7% year over year for the quarter, to $19.47 billion.

Home Depot also increased its full-year forecast. The company expects revenue throughout 2013 to jump by 5.6% over 2012, with full-year earnings up 24% from the prior year. Both are above analyst full-year outlooks, and if Home Depot nails another strong quarter to end the year, investors could be in for a welcome fourth-quarter earnings bounce.

The housing rebound's done wonders for Home Depot, as consumers have happily come back to the store looking for home improvement supplies. Online sales also have jumped at the company, climbing to 3% of the company's total sales.

Today's results are a strong showing for the company, and Home Depot investors will get a little closer look at the competition when rival Lowe's (NYSE: LOW  ) reports earnings tomorrow. Lowe's and Home Depot have squared off for dominance in the home improvement retail space for years, but the latter's been opening some space from its closest competitor recently. However, a strong second quarter helped Lowe's stay on pace with Home Depot, and it'll be up to the company to perform yet again tomorrow to keep up with Home Depot's strong performance today.

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