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Home Depot Sinks Almost 3% Despite Q4 Beat

By Eric Volkman - Feb 23, 2021 at 4:01PM

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Growth was hot during the quarter, but that's not likely to continue.

The king of do-it-yourself retail isn't doing it for investors on Tuesday. Home Depot (HD 1.96%) reported its latest quarterly figures this morning, and investors reacted by trading down the stock. 

For its fourth quarter of 2020, sales came in at $32.3 billion, a 25% improvement over the year-ago quarter. That was on the back of comparable sales that climbed by nearly the same percentage. On the bottom line, net profit was 16% higher at $2.9 billion, or $2.65 per share.

Home Depot worker stocking shelves.

Image source: Home Depot.

Both headline figures topped analyst estimates. Collectively, prognosticators tracking the company were expecting sales of $30.7 billion and a per-share net profit of $2.61.

Home Depot did not proffer any guidance, writing that for this year, "Given the uncertainty related to the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its influence on the consumer, the Company believes it is limited in its ability to forecast demand."

As was the case in previous quarters, Home Depot continued to benefit from a customer base that is effectively trapped at home much of the time.

As many are eager to make those homes as comfortable as possible -- or even add features to them -- the big retailer is an obvious go-to for materials, tools, and even furnishings. Double-digit increases were the rule and not the exception for Home Depot's 2020 -- third-quarter sales, for example, rose 23% on a 25% improvement in comps.

With the pandemic seemingly receding, it's unlikely that Home Depot will post similarly hot growth numbers. This is probably a major reason the bears are pouncing on the stock after earnings; in late afternoon trading, it was down by nearly 3%.

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