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Dow Jones Rises as Disney Earnings Loom, Home Depot Expands Distribution Network

By Timothy Green – Aug 4, 2020 at 2:41PM

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Disney's numbers are going to be rough this afternoon, and Home Depot is building three new distribution centers to handle increased demand.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.19%) was leading the stock market higher on Tuesday afternoon, up 0.41% at 2:05 p.m. EDT. The stimulus bill being negotiated by Congress remains stuck as Republicans and Democrats battle over unemployment benefits, but the prospect of a delayed bill doesn't seem to be phasing the Dow.

Disney (DIS 1.08%) is set to report its quarterly results after the market closes. The numbers are going to be ugly, but investors were bidding up the stock ahead of that report. Meanwhile, shares of Home Depot (HD 0.29%) were up slightly after the company announced an expansion of its distribution network.

Mickey Mouse in a Disney park.

Image source: Disney.

Disney stock up ahead of earnings

Entertainment juggernaut Disney will report its fiscal third-quarter results after the market closes. With movie theaters and the company's parks closed for months during the pandemic, much of Disney's business has been hit extremely hard.

Analysts are expecting Disney's revenue to plunge by nearly 39% to $12.4 billion, and for earnings per share to come in at a loss of $0.64. In the fiscal second quarter, which was only minimally affected by pandemic restrictions, the parks, experiences, and products segment suffered a 10% revenue decline. That decline will be far worse in the third quarter.

Streaming service Disney+ may be the company's only bright spot. The service had racked up 54.5 million subscribers as of May 4, and the company's other streaming services, which include Hulu and ESPN+, have also been growing.

While Disneyland in California is still closed, Disney World in Florida reopened in July. The fiscal third quarter will likely mark the bottom for Disney's parks business, but a full recovery could take years if the pandemic isn't brought under control in the U.S.

Disney stock was up 1.4% Tuesday afternoon ahead of the company's earnings report. Shares are down nearly 20% since the beginning of the year.

Home Depot betting on sustained demand

With many people spending more time at home during the pandemic, home improvement retailer Home Depot has seen a surge in demand related to do-it-yourself projects. Comparable sales in the U.S. surged 7.5% in the first quarter, which ended on May 3.

While Home Depot suspended its full-year guidance, the company is expanding its distribution footprint to better handle demand. Home Depot announced on Tuesday that it planned to open three new distribution centers over the next 18 months aimed at satisfying demand for flexible delivery and pick-up options.

One of the new distribution centers will replenish stores in the Southeast United States, while another will focus on same-day and next-day delivery of bulk and oversized items. The third facility, which won't be open until late 2021, will offer same-day and next-day delivery of products for institutional business customers.

Home Depot is benefiting from a combination of people spending more time at home and trillions of dollars of economic stimulus that have offset some of the impact of widespread job losses. While more stimulus in the U.S. is likely, it may be less generous going forward. Whether strong home-improvement demand persists with less stimulus and the economy in recession remains to be seen.

Home Depot stock was up 0.1% by Tuesday afternoon. Shares have soared nearly 22% so far this year.

Timothy Green has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Home Depot and Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney, short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney, long January 2021 $120 calls on Home Depot, and short January 2021 $210 calls on Home Depot. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Walt Disney Stock Quote
Walt Disney
$99.66 (1.08%) $1.07
Home Depot Stock Quote
Home Depot
$328.01 (0.29%) $0.94
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$34,458.67 (0.19%) $63.66

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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