Lowe's Companies (NYSE:LOW) reported its fiscal third-quarter results on Nov. 19. Just as with the second quarter, sales, same-store sales, net earnings, diluted earnings per share, and guidance all showed decent year-over-year gains. The results slightly beat analyst expectations and the commentary suggested possibly even better times ahead.
Hammering out the results
Lowe's delivered a good quarter with an even better outlook. Sales jumped 5.6% to $13.7 billion. Same-store sales popped 5.1%. Net earnings increased 17.3% to $585 million while earnings per diluted share leaped to $0.59, an increase of 25.5%. The results were a bit higher than the $13.55 billion in sales and $0.58 in EPS that analysts were expecting.
"Our employees' unwavering commitment to serving customers helped us achieve this quarter's strong results," said CEO Robert A. Niblock in the company press release. "We are pleased with our performance, and continue to be cautiously optimistic about the home improvement landscape." This was in contrast to the second quarter when he credited mostly macro trends for the improvement and less so company-specific execution.
In light of the strong results, Lowe's slightly raised its full-year guidance. With the first-quarter report, Lowe's was expecting a 5% bump in total sales and a 4% rise in same-store sales for the full fiscal year ending Jan. 30, 2015. With the second-quarter report, Lowe's expected total sales and same-store sales growth of 4.5% and 3.5%, respectively.
The most recent guidance is close to the original with total sales expected to lift between 4.5% and 5% and same-store sales to improve between 3.5% and 4%. Lowe's raised its full-year EPS outlook from the $2.63 it guided the previous two quarters to $2.68. This compares to $2.16 for the prior fiscal year.
Lowe's isn't the only one
Meanwhile, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) reported its fiscal third-quarter results Tuesday. Like Lowe's, Home Depot reported strong results and gave itself credit citing "continued strength in the core of the store" as the key reason. During its conference call, CEO Craig Menear also credited a recovering housing market and increased sales not just to consumers but also to construction professionals.
Home Depot sales, overall same-store sales, U.S. same-store sales, and diluted earnings per share climbed 5.4%, 5.2%, 5.8%, and 21.1%, respectively. The company reaffirmed guidance for full-year sales to rise 4.8% and diluted earnings per share to rise 21%. It's interesting to note this full-year sales guidance growth is on par with Lowe's and suggests a healthy environment for both players.
Investors seems more confident than ever in Lowe's and sent the stock soaring to new all-time highs as the stock was up 6% Wednesday. Full-year EPS guidance was only raised by 2%, so there seems to be either confidence the company is under-promising or the results are perceived to be the start of a stronger long-term trend, or both. Should you buy the stock now or wait for a pullback? As Fools, we're not market timers, but in this case I'd be inclined to see if there is a cheaper entry point in the future rather than chase such a large move right after earnings.