What happened

Shares of home improvement retailer Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) rose sharply in 2017, climbing 30.7%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The stock benefited from strong fundamental performance and a positive bump in sales during the second half of the year, driven by hurricane recovery efforts.

Lowe's excellent performance throughout the year was particularly evident by its strong comparable sales and earnings-per-share growth.

A man working on a do-it-yourself project at home with tools

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

In Lowe's trailing nine months as of the end of its third fiscal quarter of 2017, comparable sales were up 4% year over year. Comparable sales growth at the end of the year, coming in at 5.6% in Q3, was higher than this nine-month average.

Lowe's earnings per share for the nine months ended November 2017 were $3.42, up 25% year over year. Lowe's third-quarter earnings per share rose 19.3% compared to adjusted EPS in the year-ago quarter (EPS is adjusted in the year-ago quarter to exclude $462 million of non-cash pre-tax charges).

Management cites a supportive macroeconomic backdrop and well-executed investments in its integrated omni-channel capabilities as key drivers for its solid growth recently.

Now what

For the full fiscal year of 2017, which Lowe's hasn't reported yet, management expects total sales to increase 5% and comparable sales for the period to rise 3.5%. Importantly, management also expects its operating income for the full fiscal year to expand 80 to 100 basis points.

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